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What if the Captain Carter episode and Steve’s reveal were a Marvel priority?

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What if…?, Marvel Studios’ first animated series, continues to deliver on Hayley Atwell’s agent Peggy Carter’s unfulfilled or potentially impossible promise in Captain America the First Avenger. Throwback movie of The RocketeerJoe Johnston’s Joe Johnston envisioned Steve Rogers and Peggy as the last golden age couple whose deep love could survive a mad scientific transformation, a world war, and 70 years on ice.

But, played by Atwell, Peggy was a hero in her own right. He had the wit and marksmanship of a spy. He could clearly plan an attack as well as any man of higher rank. If Marvel didn’t need to debut the Chris Evans cap in less than two hours, maybe The first avenger I would have had room for Peggy to be more than an accessory.

While it was not admitted that the character was neglected in First avenger, future Marvel stories implicitly acknowledged that there was work to be done. Marvel brought Atwell back in 2013 for the short film “One-Shot.” Agent carter, which found Peggy back in action chasing down MacGuffins, rejecting silly men, and eventually founding SHIELD. The short, released with the iron Man 3 DVD, served as a kind of proof of concept for ABC Agent carter, the two-season spy drama that further sculpted Peggy’s life after Steve and confronted American sexism head-on. Buried in a traditional net in 2015, Agent carter It lasted two seasons before becoming something of a cult favorite, as far as Marvel TV is concerned.

Agent Carter’s underdog status makes the What if…? even more powerful: there was still room to redeem, empower, and envision Peggy as the badass hero she was ready to be. Marvel could do more for this character, and Marvel did.

“Captain Carter was one of the first, if not the first, the concept we came up with What if…?”Says series executive producer Brad Winderbaum to Polygon. “He had an incredible story to tell, with just that little element changed, and we knew that we would be able to challenge the character in ways that were born out of that time at that time, if suddenly the only super soldier on Earth was a hero.”

Animated Captain Carter from What If Holds Up Her Shield

Images: Marvel Studios

Starting with a story set in the Captain America timeline was always showrunner AC Bradley’s plan; the idea was that if the team stuck to the canon of one of the movies from the start, the show could “get the audience comfortable, get them used to the water before we dump it on the bottom.”

“The decision to make Peggy Carter the first Super Soldier actually came from Kevin and Brad,” says showrunner AC Bradley, who admits he presented a slightly different story set in the Captain America timeline. “But they told me, ‘We really want to do is history.'”

Winderbaum, who came as an assistant at Marvel and produced the Agent carter show, I met Atwell on the set of One-Shot. “It was amazing working with Hayley,” he says of the actor, who puts the character’s voice back in. What if…?. “And discovering what to do with that character that we left in 1945 has always been exciting for [the team at Marvel]. “

Bradley’s task was to find a logical path within the events of First avengerand true to character, for Peggy to enter the super soldier’s chamber. He took advantage of the moment in the movie where Dr. Erskine asks the agent to wait in the observation booth.

“I was like, Well that’s it. Here we go. A woman who ‘stays in the room’ is incredibly powerful in the 1940s, and even more so I think today in 2021, because that’s how we change the world. As for the character, we all knew that Peggy Carter was going to be a hero. She just doesn’t have the hammer, the shield, the Iron Man suit. So this was my chance to finally let the outside match the inside. “

Bradley came to What if…? a fan of Agent Carter; I’d seen movies and shows, and had friends with some of the ABC series writers, including showrunner Tara Butters. His love for the character was deep enough that there are even some nods to the One-Shot movie in the episode. Fans should be on the lookout for one particular voice cameo that carries over from the Marvel short.

Captain Carter flies on the back of the Hydra Smasher armor in What If ...?

Image: Marvel Studios

In What if…?Captain Carter controls the screen, free to run, jump, and pop skulls without the gravitational limitations of on-screen reality. And unlike The first avenger, your love interest is not left out. In this modified universe, Peggy and Steve, voiced in the Josh Keaton animated episode, became romantically tangled superheroes, with the lanky soldier stepping into a tesseract-powered Howard Stark invention nicknamed “Hydra Stomper.” The limits of the origin film of The first avenger He couldn’t emphasize the power of their relationship by leveling out the heroic states of Peggy and Steve; What if…? it becomes a kind of corrective.

“Once you knock down that first domino, a lot of dominoes fall,” says Winderbaum. “We knew that the Peggy-Steve relationship is its own kind of bond. No matter how you turn reality around, that love is true. So if Steve Rogers was going to remain a skinny Steve, it became fun to imagine what would happen. He would still want to join the war effort. Wouldn’t stay still, even if [becoming a super soldier] did not go his way. And with Howard Stark on the table, we realized this proto-Iron Man could be fun to build. “

The end of the Captain Carter episode finds another parallel to canon: Captain Carter, having battled a Lovecraftian horror on his Tesseract portal, emerges from space decades later in the corridors of SHIELD to meet Nick Fury. In theory, what happens next in the events of the Avengers now it happens with Peggy in hero mode. Could we see the story unfold again? Could Captain Carter have his own spinoff series? Everything is on the table at Marvel, where, according to Winderbaum, there are more animated projects in development.

“As we develop more animation and let them know what those projects are, which hopefully we’ll be able to do soon, they all justify the medium. That is the most important. What if…? We really had to cheer ourselves up due to the breadth of the material that we had to revisit. We could never afford to create it and it needs an infinite canvas. What if…? as a concept it just needs to be able to be unlimited and run freely through infinite space. Animation lets you do that. ”



What if…? on Disney Plus

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