Marvel Is Planting The Seeds For Peggy Carter To Return To The Live-Action MCU – Screen Rant

Peggy Carter is beloved in the MCU, making it exciting to think that her appearance in What If…? is Marvel planting seeds for a live-action return.
There are indications in the current phase of the MCU that Marvel is planting the seeds for Peggy Carter‘s possible return to live-action productions. The beloved secret agent first appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger and made consequent appearances across several films throughout the Infinity Saga. Additionally, Peggy was the focus of one of Marvel’s One-Shots, a series of short films that told self-contained stories and accompanied the home releases of their related movies. Most notably, Peggy’s one-shot was so popular among fans when it screened at San Diego Comic-Con that it ultimately expanded into the ABC series Agent Carter, running for two seasons before cancellation.
Peggy was initially positioned as Steve Rogers’ love interest during WWII and became Steve’s moral reference point throughout his 21st-century adventures with SHIELD and the Avengers. Avengers: Endgame gave Steve Rogers’ character the perfect ending by allowing him to return to Peggy, thereby finally giving the formerly star-crossed couple the dance that they had promised each other. In fact, Endgame‘s parting shot of Steve and Peggy dancing peacefully in their home seemed to denote a definitive end to both characters’ journeys in the MCU.
Related: Why Peggy Carter Doesn’t Call Herself Captain Britain In The MCU
However, What If…? brought Peggy back in its premiere episode that explored a timeline during which she, and not Steve, inadvertently became the recipient of the Super Soldier serum, effectively becoming Captain Carter. So far, she has only appeared one episode of the animated series, but considering Marvel’s track record for developing beloved and formerly supporting characters into key players, it’s hard to believe that the significant changes What If…? made to Peggy Carter’s character were done solely for the Disney+ series. Here are some indicators that Marvel is planting the seeds for a full-blown MCU live-action return.
What’s significant about What If…? opening with Captain Carter’s episode is that she served as the first major presence of both Marvel’s first MCU animated series and first foray into stories set in the multiverse. As a result, she anchored the audience in what was previously uncharted narrative territory for and within the MCU. On the one hand, her story was familiar enough (in that it was a gender reversal of The First Avenger), and yet, on the other, it still offered an evolution of Peggy’s character that felt definitively like her own superhero origin story.
Most importantly, the episode addressed the MCU’s biggest crime against Peggy, finally giving her the space to be a fully-fledged woman superhero and a storyline that wasn’t about being hindered by her womanhood. With recent announcements of Captain Carter returning for season 2 of What If…?, and with the MCU’s newfound dedication towards better treatment of its female characters, it’s a good sign that Captain Carter may make a leap from animation to live-action. She encapsulates the very empowerment that the MCU’s current phase is promising.
Although What If…? is based on a Marvel comic book anthology, Captain Carter was created specifically for the Disney+ animated series. That said, Marvel Comics recently announced an upcoming reboot of the Avengers Forever anthology that would explore multiversal storylines and feature Captain Carter. This is a strong indication that Peggy Carter may star in an MCU movie because Marvel rarely incorporates new characters in this way unless there’s a larger plan to bring them into the live-action fold. Even the end of Captain Carter’s What If…? episode, wherein she encounters Nick Fury and Clint Barton in a SHIELD facility in the 21st Century via a Tesseract portal, suggests that her adventures are just beginning.
Related: How Powerful Captain Carter Is Compared To Captain America
Atwell’s performance as Peggy is undoubtedly the reason for the longevity of the character’s resonance with audiences. Across multiple big and small film appearances and the Agent Carter spin-off series, it’s clear that Atwell herself enjoys exploring new facets of the character. That Marvel brought the actress back to voice the character once again in What If…? is evidence of Atwell’s rapport with the studio. What’s interesting is the fact that Captain Carter doesn’t wear a mask in What If…?. With Atwell’s physical likeness translated into animation, it’s even more of a tease for audiences to imagine what she would look like as an action hero. Of course, she’s already proven herself with the stunt work required of her in Agent Carter, not to mention her back-to-back contract with Tom Cruise in the upcoming Mission: Impossible sequels. Clearly, a live-action MCU franchise isn’t outside of Atwell’s capabilities.
This would arguably be at the heart of the decision to bring Peggy back into the live-action MCU. Her character’s spin-off series was so widely loved that ABC received a lot of public outcry for its decision to unceremoniously end Agent Carter. Indeed, the series ultimately fell victim to the economic politics of network television. Capitalizing on the popularity Atwell garnered through her performance as Peggy, ABC wanted to move her to a more mainstream tv series in the hopes that it would yield high viewer ratings for the studio’s new show. As a result, despite concrete plans for a third season, Agent Carter left season 2’s unanswered questions – and audiences alike – hanging. However, Marvel has a reputation for finding ways to correct itself, especially when it comes to beloved actors and characters being caught in the bureaucratic crossfire. As such, it could be that Marvel is looking for ways to bring Peggy back and do her justice.
Already, Captain Carter’s What If…? episode teased Doctor Strange 2‘s rumored villain. Indeed, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is allegedly the culmination of every project that has dealt or will deal with the multiverse, from WandaVision and Loki to the highly anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home. Furthermore, rumors have previously circulated that Captain Carter will show up in an action sequence in the Doctor Strange sequel as the Sorcerer Supreme travels through the multiverse. While details for the movie are so far scant, the repercussions of the multiverse’s impending explosion are certain to be widespread, ultimately leaving many live-action MCU doors open for Peggy to walk through.
Most optimistically, an all-women team-up is long overdue in the MCU. As a founder of SHIELD in one timeline and a Super Soldier Captain in another, it’s clear that leadership is in Peggy Carter‘s DNA. It wouldn’t, therefore, be outside the realm of possibility for Captain Carter to lead an A-Force movie. Narratively speaking, Peggy has spent a lot of live-action screen time fighting for a seat at the male-dominated table. While stories about gender inequity and inequality are important, there’s an infinite well of other narratives and facets to Peggy’s character worth exploring. She isn’t solely defined by the obstacles she faces as a woman–she’s a captain, a war hero, and Super Soldier as well.
Next: Captain Carter’s MCU Multiverse Future Was Already Teased (By Spider-Gwen)
Jericho is a freelance writer and editor whose words can be found on The Nerd Daily, Elixuer Magazine, and more. His love for movies started with weekend trips to the theatre with his dad when he was young. This translated into a love for storytelling in general. In addition to journalism, he has written for the stage and screen. He can be reached at jerichotadeo [at] gmail [dotcom].

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