Did Marvel force Julia Louis-Dreyfus into Black Panther 2? The Director replied | Popgen Tech
The creatives behind it Black Panther: Wakanda Forever revealed if they were forced to include Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’s Val in the storyline of the MCU movie.
The character was first introduced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldierwhere he approaches Wyatt Russell’s John Walker to recruit him for a secret initiative—which fans now know is for the Thunderbolts.
From there, he went to see the Black Widowpost-credits tag by. Here he sends Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova on an assassination mission to retrieve Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye.
His next appearance surprised many fans, as he appeared in the MCU’s latest film entry, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her role in the proceedings revolved around her ex-husband, Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross, who later had her arrested for secretly working alongside the Wakandans.
Many, however, can’t help but think that his storyline was forced into the film to strengthen the MCU relationship of the outing. But did that really happen?
Was Val forced into Wakanda Forever?
In an interview with The New York Times, director Ryan Coogler and co-screenplay writer Joe Robert Cole revealed whether the role of Julia Louis-Dreyfuss was forced upon them by Marvel Studios.
Cole shares how he’s doing “There was never a conversation anywhere [he] asked to include something non-organic:”
“Ryan will have a different perspective as a director, but I’ve never been in a conversation where I’ve been asked to include something that didn’t organically exist. It wasn’t, ‘Oh, we have to find a reason to have this character. .’ It’s, ‘Oh, here it is and there’s this amazing actress.’ It always starts with story and ideas.”
Coogler ended up revealing how Val’s role in the film was plotted “it was Black Widow,” with the character in “there in the beginning:”
“Yeah, nothing was shoehorned or asked to be put in the movie or anything like that. Actually, in this version, [Louis-Dreyfus’s role] is stripped back to make room for dealing with T’Challa’s death. And we had Val before he appeared in any of the other movies, before Black Widow and [the series] Falcon and the Winter Soldier. People assume we were told to put him in, but he was there from the beginning.”
When asked if Namor was still the villain in earlier versions of the script, Coogler confirmed that that was the case but that Val himself “is more active:”
“Yeah. But that’s a combination. Val [the C.I.A. director, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus] is more active. It’s basically a three-way conflict between Wakanda, the US and Talokan. But everything is mostly from the child’s point of view.”
Forced Creative Connections Are Not Common
Based on what Coogler revealed about Val, it seems that his appearance sequence has changed quite a bit from what was originally planned on several occasions.
Ahead of Anthony Mackie’s Disney+ show, the world should first see him on Black Widow. However, if Chadwick Boseman doesn’t pass, it looks like this will be it Black Panther sequel where he made his debut.
It all goes to show that the MCU itself is highly malleable.
Hopefully, Val’s naysayers will be pretty quiet on this confirmation—after all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, and always will be, a connected, interconnected world of storytelling. So, all these connections are quite important in maintaining that meaning.
It’s also further evidence that forcing elements into different projects is unusual at Marvel Studios. While this obviously happens from time to time—one of the biggest examples is all the changes and added scenes for Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in Thor: The Dark World.
As for when audiences will see Louis-Dreyfuss’ Val again, the latest is 2024’s Thunders, which hit theaters on July 26 that year. However, there is every chance that he will appear elsewhere before the big team-up event.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now showing in theaters worldwide.