In the ever expanding vast mythology of the MCU, it’s the little things that make the whole cohesive universe more worth it. The subtle name drops, comic references, easter eggs and the would-be forgotten stories make the whole MCU experience immersive. In case you missed it, we have One-Shots, Agents of SHIELD, the five upcoming Netflix shows and the topic at hand, Agent Carter to fill-in the void of the major movie events.
Based on the Marvel One-Shot of the same name, Margaret Peggy Carter will be getting an eight-episode series (or TV event whatever you want to call it) premiering in January 6.
Peggy Carter is a British agent that appeared in the first Captain America movie as a sort of liaison if you will, to Steve Rogers and the SSR. You could sort of look to her as a Maria Hill type of character to Tommy Lee Jones’ Nick Fury-esque character, Col. Chester Phillips. With the help of these two characters and the Howling Commandos, the legacy of Captain America began. Throughout the film, Peggy and Steve kinda fall in love with each other in a short span of time but sadly that love is never consummated nor made official because of Steve’s untimely demise. Its all becomes heartwrenching when Captain America meets an aging Peggy again in the modern world.
There really isn’t much to Peggy Carter in the comics that wasn’t tackled in the films. All the important details of the comic book version have been expanded and enriched by the films. She is a love interest to Cap in the books and she’s around World War Two and she is a relative of Cap’s modern love interest Sharon Carter, who in the films is played by Emily Van Camp. So the MCU gets all those things down.
Set after that The First Avenger and the one-shot, the show Agent Carter is to depict the untold life of Peggy Carter post-Captain America and the work she has done which eventually leads to the founding of the MCU’s most prominent groups SHIELD. The synopsis for episodes 1 and 2 have been officially revealed as of now.
Now Is Not The End
Peggy is contacted by old acquaintance Howard Stark when he is framed for unleashing his deadliest weapons and can trust no one else. To help Peggy clear Stark’s name, he insists his butler, Edwin Jarvis, be at her beck and call–whether she likes it or not. But the risk is great: If caught, Agent Carter could be targeted as a traitor and spend the rest of her days in prison…or worse
Bridge and Tunnel
Howard Stark’s deadliest weapon has fallen into enemy hands, and only Agent Carter can recover it. But can she do so before her undercover mission is discovered by SSR Chief Dooley and Agent Thompson?
Agent Carter as a show isn’t an easy sell. It could be easily passed off as something trying to live off of Agents of SHIELD. There was a good amount of hype surrounding Agents of SHIELD when it was first announced but the undeniably slow pacing of the first half of the show turned a lot of people off to it and its inevitable that Agent Carter will have a few skeptics surrounding it. But amidst all that doubt and skepticism, there’s a good chance Agent Carter will be better than we all expect.
1. The show is handled by a strong creative team
The series will be run by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas from the show Reaper. We have The First Avenger and The Winter Soldier scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely kicking off the writing for the show and Agent Carter One-Shot director Louis D’Esposito handling the pilot.
It’s a really rich period in history, where this giant opposition we had going for 10 years with the Nazis is gone, and we’re not completely positive what the rules are anymore. Who gets the scientists? Who gets the secrets? It’s all on the table. Everyone developed these skills in World War II. People became spies, people became murderers. And suddenly the war was over, and they came back, and it’s like, ‘Wow, I know how to do some shit. Now, what do I do with this?’ It’s nice to play with that assortment of characters. An office, basically full of people who just came back from the war. There’s no telling what any of them experienced last year. – Christopher Markus
And to top that off, Joe Johnston is directing an episode and the Russo brothers are directing two. The people responsible for making the Captain America franchise the thing it is now are handling this Agent Carter series. Talk about it being in good hands.
2. Visually, it takes its cue from the aesthetics of The First Avenger
One of the great aspects in The First Avenger was its overall aesthetic and visual tone. That first Captain America film perfectly captured what the Marvel version of the 1940’s would look like, with all the high tech gear and the sci-fi elements to it. With the creative team mentioned above, its a very safe bet that the design aesthetic from The First Avenger will be seen in this show.
If you watched the preceeding one-shot, you can tell that the show is going to have that pulp noir tone that made that one-shot really unique. It makes a lot of sense visually and narratively. The whole pulp genre started in that era; hard boiled crime fiction, detective mystery thrillers and the like. Heck, even the one-shot poster was inspired by pulp magazines from that era. Snazzy.
3. An interesting new batch of potential villains
We’re several stories into the MCU yet the only big bad organization out there that they’re still dealing with is HYDRA. A good chunk of MCU villains fall under this organization. It’s always a great ride at first but eventually we’re all going to get sick of it. As it is written in the synopsis, Howard’s tech lands in the wrong hands. It’s fair to assume that a new nefarious organization has it. Secret Empire? AIM’s predecessor? Maggia? Dare I say Serpent Society?
The one shot briefly introduced concept of the Zodiac, which in the books is a nefarious organization similar to HYDRA. It is yet to be known if the Zodiac in the MCU is an actual organization or just a singular serum which appeared in the one shot.
Of course with the Zodiac comes Scorpio, who in the comics is the brother of Nick Fury. The Scorpio could easily be written into a brand new character since the Nick Fury connection isn’t essential to the character.
It’s also worth mentioning that Anton Vanko is also part of the series and could definitely serve as a villain. Who is Anton Vanko? Anton Vanko is the father of Iron Man 2 villain Whiplash aka Ivan Vanko, who in the film is motivated by his perceived betrayal of the Stark family towards the Vankos.
Anton Vanko in the comics is also known as the Iron Man foe Crimson Dynamo. Granted, with the way the Iron Man mythology has set things up it might be a far cry to see Vanko don the Crimson Dynamo suit but Whiplash’s armor does takes its design from the Crimson Dynamo armor in the comics. But you never know, we could see an early variation of that armor.
A prominent Captain America villain that Peggy encounters in the comics at one point is Doctor Faustus. Faustus is this evil psychologist – who is cohort of the Red Skull – that has very strong persuasive abilities that is basically a precursor to mind control. Faustus is present during the whole Death of Captain America and has a hand in that debacle. Him appearing in the show in any capactiy sort of fulfills that aspect of Agent Carter’s history and though the circumstances in the books are certainly different, it could definitely happen with the existing Doctor Faustus reference/easter egg in Agents of SHIELD. The word Faustus was named dropped with regards to HYDRA’s brainwashing methods so he could have existed in the MCU in the past and this is the perfect time to show that.
Bottom line is we could use something new and different and the show has potential to offer us fans something which could represent a new face of villainy.
4. It will fill a LOT of narrative blanks
The biggest appeal to this show lies in the actual storytelling. With a story like this set in the 40s, you know that there are a lot of blanks to be filled. The gap between the current MCU period with this period is a good 70 years. Any story between those decades is always worth knowing. Ant-Man is said to partially fill that void with it being set in the 60’s and with Peggy appearing in that film as well, some great connections are to be made among these properties. In this show we will also be getting two prominent Iron Man 2 characters: Howard Stark and Anton Vanko.
Underrated and unsung compared to his famous son, Howard Stark is one of the best things to come out of this period and Dominic Cooper playing him just puts the icing on the cake. The man in context, is very important to the MCU and its a treat that we’re gonna get to explore that character. We first see him as a lovable playboy billionaire like his son is and near the end of his life Tony Stark describes him to be a cold calculating alcoholic, a far cry from his quirky past. His appearance here and in Ant-Man hopefully give some weight to that transformation. The time scope of the show hasn’t been really confirmed and all we know is that it’s set in 1946 but it would be great to see Howard until his alleged asassination by the Winter Soldier.
Howard Stark’s role in the MCU is so crucial that in a way, it is through him that SHIELD gets the Tesseract which kicks off the events of the Avengers. What happens immediately following his acquisition of the most powerful artifact on Earth is something we might all see in the near future.
Anton Vanko, on the other hand barely makes an appearance in Iron Man 2 but his contextual presence sets that chain of events in motion. Him being in this show is a good avenue to explore and explain what exactly went on with these illegal dealings and what was dealt, in a way set the chain of events to occur in Iron Man 2. As mentioned above, he in the comics is also known as the Crimson Dynamo and is a great potential villain to see.
The arc reactor – an important part of the Iron Man mythology – was said to be conceptualized and invented by Howard Stark AND Anton Vanko. This sort of thing could be tied to the Whiplash armor his son devised. Anton Vanko, being the Crimson Dynamo in the comics, could have proposed an exoskeletal armor which preceeded the Whiplash armor, stole some patents, made some black market dealings and then was deported to Russia. It makes for great continuity and connectivity.
Our friend /u/Flamma_Man from /r/marvelstudios summed it up perfectly, Agent Carter just made Iron Man 2 retroactively better as an MCU film.
And it is in this show that we will finally get to see the real life Jarvis. Deadpan, quippy and just as capable, the Edwin Jarvis we will see in the show is said to be Howard Stark’s butler and Tony Stark’s eventual mentor or man-nanny (manny?). Just him being loyal to the Starks just gives off a very sentimental notion that when Tony Stark creates his most loyal and reliable AI, he names it after one of the most important people in his life. It just gives his AI JARVIS so much character and heart.
One of the things we haven’t fully explored is how exactly has Captain America affected the world on a social and cultural level. We’ve seen the museum and Coulson’s trading cards but there’s probably more to Cap’s legacy. In one of the announced casting lists for the first two episodes, someone is listed as Captain America (Radio Actor), which tells us that we may get to see the immediate effect of Captain America’s legacy and how his existence and demise has affected US pop culture. Heck there could have even been Captain America serial movie adaptations from that time, who knows? How the world reacts to the loss of its first superhero is interesting to see.
The way the show is sandwiched between the 1st and 2nd half of Agents of SHIELD’s second season is a strong implication that the events of the Agent Carter show will narratively bridge that 70 year gap between the two shows. Maybe a tie-in to major Inhuman issue? Or we will see the beginning of HYDRA’s infiltration? What if the LMD rumors are true and we see the original Eric Koenig actually present in that era?
And do not forget the Howling Commandos. Love them or hate them, they are an essential cog to the mythos of this period in the MCU and any presence of theirs in this show would be incredibly awesome. We cannot just get enough of Dum Dum Dugan, Falsworth and the rest of the commandos. They appeared in Agents of SHIELD so fingers crossed that they appear here as well.
5. It is officially the MCU’s first female led property
Yep, Peggy Carter rightfully has that distinction in the MCU. She will preceed Captain Marvel by a good 3 years and all the other future female leads.
An important element that the one shot tackled and that will be brought to the series is the female equality issue in the workforce and in society as a whole. The notion that women could do a man’s work – let alone when the line of work (field work) was generally populated and done by men – was unheard of and commonly frowned upon.
In the one shot that is set a year after The First Avenger, Peggy is deliberately berated by her sexist superior Agent Flynn (played by the great Bradley Whitford) and is dismissed as having her current professional status due to pity and being Captain America’s old flame. This is the perfect example on how the series plans to depict the struggling issues Peggy deals with in a struggling post-WW2 society . The fact that she is one of the founders of SHIELD is a such a rewarding and amazing fuck you statement to the hostile environment she continue to struggles in.
As a character she’s very tough. She’s a soldier, a fighter, she gets things done when she wants it and has a very commanding presence that comes with sass and class. She could hold up comparably her male counterparts in the MCU and even the heavy hitters themselves. Among the major female characters in the MCU, Agent Carter is definitely among the handful who are excellently written and portrayed. Amidst all that bite, she has this sensitivity and vulnerability that’s just as beautiful and interesting as her tough side.
At the end of the day, you cannot deny that she brings so much to the MCU as a whole and an eight episode series could not be more perfect for that character and franchise. She has one of the widest connections/relations with key MCU players. You have Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, the Starks, Hank Pym and the entirety SHIELD by association.
It’s amazing how the Captain America franchise – which was at one point the least exciting in the MCU – is sort of taking the lead with pushing narrative of the universe. From a franchise that was perceived as boring to its 180 degree transition to the top of the mountain, this whole Cap universe is in damn good hands and shape and Agent Carter will be there to enrich it and enforce you will see why! How great it is to know that of the most forgotten characters in modern comic books is today one of the most flourishing in the cinematic universe.