TV News

Think of It As Alias Set During WWII: Marvel Might Give Us a TV Series Based on Agent Peggy Carter

Hey, Warner Bros./D.C., you know that Wonder Woman TV show you just can’t get off the ground despite your apparent best efforts?  Yeah, Marvel is officially putting you on notice.  Well, kind of.  Maybe.  Actually, we don’t know for sure.

Agent Carter
Suck it, Wonder Woman!

According to Deadline (and now reported by most other pop culture news sites), Marvel is developing a television series centered around Agent Peggy Carter, a World War II Strategic Scientific Reserve (a precursor to S.H.I.E.L.D.) officer who had the googly eyes for Steve “Captain America” Rogers before he went and got frozen in ice while being a big ole hero.  In Captain America: The First Avenger, Carter was played with butt-kicking gusto by veteran of British TV Haley Atwell, who reprises her role in Agent Carter, a short film which is an extra feature on the upcoming Iron Man 3 Blu-Ray.

Wait a minute, here.  How reliable is this information?

Well, I’m glad you asked, other me.  Here is what Deadline actually said:

“Marvel is notoriously secretive about their development, and no one would comment, but I hear the company is working on a concept for a potential TV series inspired by Agent Carter […]  Directed by Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito, Agent Carter […] chronicles her life as a budding secret agent after her boyfriend is stranded in ice. I hear the project is in very early stages, one of several in the works at Marvel, and is in the process of locking in a writer. It is unclear if Atwell would reprise her role if Agent Carter comes to fruition.”

So, no official comment from Marvel, if it exists at all it’s only at the concept stage, there’s not even a writer yet, Atwell isn’t necessarily even attached, and it’s but one of many projects in development behind the scenes at Marvel.  Great.  Pencil it in on ABC’s Fall 2014 lineup, right?

This comes at a time when the drumbeat for more women in comic-book-related film and TV projects is at an all-time high.  Giving us Black Canary as a supporting character on Arrow, or giving Black Widow a bigger role in the Captain America sequel is nice but no longer enough.  We want actual female-led projects, dangit.  As such, there is a temptation to jump on this news and compose an essay praising the good it potentially means for representations of women on film and television.

ku-bigpic
Add in the rumors of a Katee Sackhoff-led Captain Marvel film and you get a good run of p.r. for Marvel even though it’s all 100% rumors at this point.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though.  What else do we actually know about this?  Well, apparently Agent Carter is ten kinds of awesome.  It screened for critics at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and the reception was positively euphoric.  The prior Marvel One-Shots, their name for their series of short films, have been well-received, but Agent Carter was clearly the right thing at the right time.  In their brief, spoiler-free review, IGN.com observed, “Atwell’s Carter is the big-screen female superhero we’ve all been waiting for (sorry Black Widow). She kicks so much ass in this short story with such aplomb, using not just brawn but also brains, and it’s all very clever and fun.”

Here’s a clip:

So, a TV show version of this wold be like Alias but set during WWII.  That has potential.  It also has the benefit of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Joss Whedon and ABC’s forthcoming big budget gamble Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began as Item 47, a Marvel One-Shot focused on a couple who go on a crime spree using one of the alien weapons left behind during the final battle in The Avengers.  However, S.H.I.E.L.D is not a direct adaptation of Item 47.  It features none of the same characters and/or actors.  It was simply inspired by the concept of Item 47, which is the same type of language Deadline used when they said “a potential TV series inspired by [emphasis mine] Agent Carter.”  That being said, Agent Carter is so specific to, um, I don’t know, Agent freakin’ Carter that I don’t know what the hell else they could be doing.  The inspired by angle might simply mean that characters introduced in Agent Carter, such as Bradley Whitford as her loathsome boss, won’t make the transition to a series.

When speaking to the Empire Film Magazine podcast about Agent Carter during Comic-Con, Atwell was clearly hopeful the world hasn’t seen the end of Peggy Carter:

“Peggy spin-off, why not?  Let’s have some more strong women on screen.  It’s timely, unfortunately, it’s still a relevant topic.  We still have a long way to go before we have equality.  A series like this or a world like this is relevant, but then it’s a lot of fun.  She can do everything the boys can do, but she’s wearing high heels and a pencil skirt.  She looks great, checking herself in the compact.  She’s just as feminine as she is masculine […] I’d love to see Peggy again.  I’d love to step in her shoes again, and see what other adventures she has in store for her.  She has a great potential to explore, especially that era of the second World War and British espionage.  She’s a trained spy so she probably has many skills under her belt.  It would be really great to showcase those.”

Preach it, attractive British actress who is not my sister.  Buffy Summers and Sydney Bristow were amazing female characters leading their own dramatic action shows, but their shows are long gone now.  Poor Orphan Black can’t hold that fort down by itself.  Let’s make this happen – like immediately. Peggy’s got moxie:

However, wouldn’t an Agent Carter show just be a prequel to S.H.I.E.L.D., considering that Peggy works at the agency that will eventually become S.H.I.E.L.D.?  And with it being set during WWII wouldn’t that seemingly eliminate any possibility for cross-overs with the films while limiting any cross-over with S.H.I.E.L.D.?  That’s assuming this is being developed for ABC, which is not guaranteed.  Wouldn’t it also be kind of weird watching a TV show in which Peggy is still pining for Steve “on ice” Rogers while we as an audience at that point will have already seen him move on to possibly Black Widow or maybe Sharon Carter, Peggy’s granddaughter?

Yeah, we don’t know any of that.  However, in Captain America Atwell was so awesome as Peggy there were those who hoped the sequel would just cast Atwell as Sharon Carter, with the script jokingly acknowledging the uncanny resemblance.  We might get more Peggy after all. However, if S.H.I.E.L.D. fails this season we can surely kiss this Agent Carter idea goodbye, just like there’d be no chance for a Flash TV show if Arrow had tanked.

What do you think?  Would you watch an Agent Carter tv show?  Liked/didn’t like her in Captain America?  Withholding judgement until we hear more than just Deadline’s whispered “so, I’m seeing some things about some stuff at Marvel”?  Let us know in the comments.

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