Directed by the amazing Ryan Coogler, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theatres right now. The director revealed that Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Val originally had a bigger role in the superhero film.
The MCU character Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ was originally going to have a larger-than-life role in the Marvel film, as stated by director Ryan Coogler in an interview with the New York Times. This interview hosted Ryan Coogler along with co-writer, Robert Cole recently and they put through some interesting statements. The Marvel Cinematic Universe character Louis-Dreyfus, who plays CIA director Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, or “Val” for short was said to have a bigger role initially.
Ryan and Cole stated that main focus had to be scaled on T’Challa/Black Panther’s passing and so, Val’s role had to be withdrawn a bit. Initially, that wasn’t the case.
”Yeah, nobody was shoehorned in or asked to be put into the movie or anything like that,” the director said. “Actually, in this version, [Louis-Dreyfus’ role] was pared back in order to make space for dealing with T’Challa’s death. And we had Val in there before she even appeared in any of the other movies, before Black Widow and [the series] Falcon and the Winter Soldier. People assume that we were told to put her in, but she was there from the beginning.
When asked if it was tough to bring together these characters in the MCU, Cole said that he never felt like anything was being forced as characters like Louis were a natural fit in the MCU.
”I’ve never had a conversation where I was asked to incorporate something that didn’t feel organic,” he said. “The dynamic of the U.S. being an instigator and Western powers being an instigator, that always existed. It wasn’t, ‘Oh, we need to find a reason to make this character exist.’ It was, ‘Oh, this is already in here and there’s this wonderful actress available.’ It always starts from the story and the ideas.”
Val Is Poised to Become a Major MCU Figure
Louis-Dreyfus’ Val plays a major role in the movie but this wasn’t announced until the release of Wakanda Forever. In the movie sequence where Val ends up going after Wakanda to capture vibranium, she rules over the screen and plays her role fruitfully. She teams up with her ex-husband and fellow agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) to try and destabilize Wakanda. Everett is hesitant to do this but follows her.
Later, the movie witnesses Valentina double-crossing Everett, revealing she had been spying on him and found out he was in contact with Wakanda. Eventually, there is an invasion of the sovereign nation to try and retrieve the vibranium to take back to America amidst an ongoing battle between the African country and Namor’s Talokan.
The character of Val was first seen in 2021 Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This was her debut role and she was also seen in a post-credit cameo in Black Widow before featuring in Wakanda Forever. The actor has played many supreme roles in her career like Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Simpsons. She also bagged a Golden Globe Award for her role as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld and seven Primetime Emmy Awards throughout her Hollywood career.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theatres now. Must watch!