If one thing changes, what kind of ripple effects would that cause? Marvel and Disney have released the official trailer for their forthcoming animated series What If…? which showcases compelling and reimagined famous events from films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, creating a multiverse of infinite possibilities. Fan-favorite characters return, including Peggy Carter, T’Challa, Doctor Strange, Killmonger, Thor, and more.
Marvel Studios’ first-ever animated series launches on Disney+ next month and will present interesting new twists on the previous stories of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is rapidly expanding. Because of the ever growing roster of characters, it can be a little overwhelming at times. Sure, Captain America and Iron Man are easy enough, but how many casual fans recognize the names Harold Hogan, Darcy Lewis, Alexander Pierce, and Mike Peterson right away? Far fewer I’d guess. That is why it’s so interesting that given the huge stable of characters to choose from, Marvel has opted to make Peggy Carter such a linchpin.
There has been a lot of talk recently about DC beating Marvel to the punch with the Wonder Woman movie set to release ahead of the Captain Marvel flick, signaling the first female lead superhero movie of the modern era. DC also claims a win on the small screen, with Marvel’s Jessica Jones premiering nearly a month after Supergirl popped up on CBS. But the truth is, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), though neither bulletproof, nor in possession of extraordinary strength, is super in her own right. She is the quiet, mostly unheralded, architect of the MCU, and we love that.
No, I’m not overstating it. Without Peggy, Steve Rogers never becomes Captain America, Tony Stark is never born, and there is no S.H.I.E.L.D. Without Peggy, WWII is likely lost to Hydra, Phil Coulson never grows up to idolize Cap, and the Avengers, at least as we know them, are never formed. Odds are by the time Banner becomes the Hulk, and Thor visits Earth, things are too far gone to turn around. Thank you Peggy.
Agent Carter was trained as a spy during WWII, but went on to do so much more post war, proving to the doubters that she is so much more than just Captain America’s girlfriend. We’ve only seen glimpses of her post-Cap life so far, but we know that she saved Howard Stark’s life (making it possible for him to later father Tony) and helped to form S.H.I.E.L.D. We know that she played a part in convincing Hank Pym to become Ant-Man, and we know that she is related to Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), whom played a pivotal role in Captain America: Winter Soldier. The exact relation hasn’t been made confirmed yet, but is likely to follow the comics, where Sharon is the great-niece of Peggy. Hence the line about talking to her aunt.
Perhaps one of the most moving moments in the whole of the MCU thus far was in the second Cap movie, when Steve visits Peggy, now in her 90s and suffering from what seems to be Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s not often that we see our superheroes grow old…
It would seem however, that I’m not the only one with such an affinity for Agent Carter, the following video was posted to Facebook by UPROXX and echos many of the same points I did.
So here we are, four episodes in the sophomore season of ABC’s Agent Carter, a show we weren’t sure was going to get a second year, and we’re soaking up everything we can. Lots of groundwork being laid here that will set up stories 60 years into the future of her timeline, and Peg doesn’t know just how important she already is. Kudos to Marvel, ABC, and showrunnners Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas, and Chris Dingess.
Despite previous reports, it looks like Hayley Atwell and her Peggy Carter character will be coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe… Sort of. According to Entertainment Weekly, Peggy Carter will make her return, but not in a way that everyone previously thought. As Captain America’s would be love interest from the first movie, most thought she should make her return in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It was announced months ago that she would not return for that and most of us closed the book on her involvement in future Marvel ventures. Apparently, we thought wrong.
She will actually be returning in her own little Marvel One-Shot, a short film series made popular at last year’s 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego with Item 47, which starred Jesse Bradford and Lizzy Caplan. Marvel has had a succesful run of One-Shot’s, with a couple featuring Agent Coulson and the previously mentioned Item 47, and this new short will act as the bridge to the next Captain America movie. The title is Agent Carter, and it will obviously follow the lovely Peggy Carter as she navigates a world that just survived Red Skull and Hydra and the issues that arise when you happen to be a female secret agent in a world dominated by men.
The short film is directed by Marvel’s go-to short film guy, Louis D’Esposito, who did Item 47 and produced some of the Marvel Studios films. Seeing that Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger greenlit the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series based off of Item 47, you know that they have a lot of faith in this type of entertainment medium. Agent Carter starts off a year after Cap decided to chill out (yep, Batman & Robin reference for Kronner) as she works for the precursor spy agency before S.H.I.E.L.D. called the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) and is on the hunt for Zodiac. We don’t know what iteration Zodiac might take in the MCU (person, weapon, item, key), but we do know he/she/it/they are the evil element in this story.
Of course, Ms. Carter must also deal with her superiors, namely one Bradley Whitford, who plays her sexist boss who obviously frowns upon having a woman attempt to rise in the ranks of his office. He does whatever he can to keep her down, because he believe that her meal ticket was Captain America and with no Cap, there’s no reason to keep her around.
Of course, she probably exercises some form of girl power to rise above the sexism and crap but that’s beside the point. It’s important that some of these characters will still have a say in the MCU and won’t go away once they’ve left the main narrative. Having these One-Shots are a great way to branch out without having to sacrifice the main story to pigeonhole someone in, while giving these ancillary characters their time to shine. Also returning is Tony Stark’s dad, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) to help bridge the gap from Iron Man 3 to the Winter Soldier. We`ll have to wait and see if he’ll look more gray and have a chance to hook up with Joan from Mad Men (Iron Man 2, anyone? When Howard Stark was Roger Sterling?), but it’s good to see throwbacks and the promise of other cameos will definitely make this a worthwhile venture.
For those not attending Comic-Con this year in lovely San Diego, you can still catch the One-Shot when Iron Man 3 comes out on DVD/Blu-ray on September 24th. However, those that are going to be in SoCal (ED. NOTE: Chris was just fired for using that term) next week, keep your Friday night open and check the Marvel booth to see if tickets will be available. It won’t be like the scavenger hunt that took place last year to secure a spot into Item 47, so just ask around and hopefully we’ll see you there to catch Agent Carter.