Spoilers for Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode 6 follow. If you have not watched the finale, turn away now! You have been warned...
Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s finale did a lot of things. It christened a new Captain America, including a post-credits scene that set up a new villain, and even featured Bucky goofing around at a cookout. They could all pale in comparison, though, to the chess pieces Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is slowly moving around the board. There’s one down, and another potentially in play – and that might just be the start of a beautiful relationship.
Val, slowly but surely, is putting together a team. John Walker – now the US Agent by the time of the Falcon and The Winter Soldier ending – is the first invited into the fold. The Contessa, who once went by Madame Hydra in the comics, implores Walker to keep his phone on – indicating she has grand plans for the disgraced Super Soldier.
Next up is Zemo. Val won’t commit to revealing her hand just yet, but implies that the Raft’s new prisoner (who took down the remaining Flag-Smashers from his cell), could also be part of whatever fledgling unit is building.
So, that’s two on the wrong side of the law – and the court of public opinion. Speculation has run rampant that Valentina is putting together either a team of ‘Thunderbolts’ (a group in the comics that partake in covert and special ops missions – think Marvel’s Suicide Squad and you’re on the right track) or a Dark Avengers group, essentially a version of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes filled with Big Bads.
- Read more: Falcon and The Winter Soldier finale post-credits scene: how it sets up a major new Marvel villain
Given that Zemo and Walker aren’t major players, and that Val was originally due to appear in the more street-level Black Widow, we’re opting for the latter. If it is the Thunderbolts, the roster needs filling out. Comic lineups have ranged from The Punisher, to Deadpool, and beyond. This iteration might start a little smaller, and Florence Pugh’s Yelena from the Black Widow movie could be next on the list.
From there, Val can start snooping around and operating on the edges of both the movies and shows. Post-credits scenes could soon become her port of call as any new villains introduced in the likes of Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel could easily be coerced into joining forces with the mysterious woman, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see Tim Roth’s Abomination (who is back in She-Hulk), whichever villain Ethan Hawke is playing in Moon Knight, as well as even someone like Olivia Colman in the Secret Invasion series all being brought in.
For Val – and for Marvel – the sky is the limit. The supervillain group may start off small, but could soon prove a viable threat for the likes of the Avengers one day. The comics even have a basis for a team replacing the Avengers before revealing themselves as a group very much up to no good if that's a route they want to go down.
At the very least, it’s proof that Marvel Studios’ inimitable brand of forward-thinking doesn’t just apply to the heroes. Marvel Phase 4 could be home to those who do bad and do it very, very well.
What's coming after Falcon? Find out in our complete guide to new Marvel TV shows.