It has been two years since fans were introduced to Captain Carter in Marvel Studios’ What If…? series before seeing her in live-action during Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2022. While it was cool to see this Peggy Carter variant in the flesh, her actress Hayley Atwell shared that she was not happy with how she was portrayed in the Doctor Strange sequel.
To recap, Captain Carter is revealed to be part of the Illuminati in Universe 838. She fights against a dream-walking Wanda Maximoff alongside her allies, Charles Xavier, Blackagar Boltagon, Captain Marvel, Reed Richards, and Karl Mordo, but unfortunately, they were all killed.
During an interview with Variety, Atwell believed that her character deserved better and that her time in What If…? was more rewarding. At the same time, she argued that her character’s death “wasn’t her choice” and that her battle against Wanda “didn’t serve her character well.”
“I’m like, ‘That wasn’t my choice!’ When she was like, ‘I could do this all day’ and then followed by she’s immediately cut in half by a frisbee. And the audience being like, ‘She can’t do it all day. Apparently you can’t, so, egg on your face.’ That doesn’t really serve Peggy very well.”
“I felt like I had much more to do in the ‘What If…?’ animation series. I mean, any actor will tell you, to be able to go into a booth in effectively your pajamas and do an animation is great fun because you’re focused on the voice as the instrument and your main performative tool…[by contract], it felt like a frustrating moment in ‘Strange.’”
Variety reported that the death of these cameo characters had been planned since the script was drafted. Screenwriter Michael Waldron told the publication that this was planned to showcase what Wanda was truly capable of. Unfortunately, that came at the expense of the death of amazing heroes who clearly deserved better. This clearly shows, considering that it was previously reported that Sam Raimi, the director of Doctor Strange 2, didn’t watch WandaVision.
Atwell might have a point when it comes to Peggy’s portrayal in the film compared to the Disney Plus series. Captain Carter was introduced in the first episode of What If…? called “What If… Captain Carter was The First Avenger?” where not only does she take Steve Rogers’ place during the Super Soldier Program, but she also fought against the Red Skull’s army and saved the world by sacrificing herself.
Unlike Steve Rogers, who has paraded around as a way to enlist more people into the war, the higher-ups ignore Carter’s potential because she’s a woman. Eventually, she was able to take part in military missions alongside Rogers and became the first Avenger in a different universe.
Meanwhile, in the Doctor Strange sequel, while she does engage in battle against the Scarlet Witch, Wanda is able to vanquish her with ease. So it’s understandable why Atwell believes that Peggy’s live-action portrayal fell short.
It’s currently unknown if Peggy Carter will return in future Marvel films, such as Avengers: Secret Wars. However, there’s now speculation that the Scarlet Witch will return in Agatha Coven Chaos and the next two Avengers films. At the same time, there were rumors that John Krasinski could reprise his role as Reed Richards in the upcoming Fantastic Four film.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is available to stream on Disney Plus.