ABC must be feeling all kinds of Marvel-lous today, having finally confirmed production of the long-rumoured TV series, Marvel’s Agent Carter. Featuring the fan-favourite character from Captain America: The First Avenger (and her own Marvel One-Shot), Peggy Carter, this is most decidedly not a ‘let’s try it and see how it works’ situation – this is a show that has been ordered straight to series.
And not before time. There has been a growing call for a lead female character in the Marvel Universe – spurred on by comments from Kevin Feige stating that we won’t be seeing a female-led Marvel movie until at least 2018. Executives have employed the usual counter arguments, pointing out that most Marvel movies and TV shows have strong female supporting characters, such as Black Widow, but this has only strengthened the desire for a real, honest-to-goodness leading female.
The character of Peggy Carter is a sure-fire bet. Stealing hearts and minds in Captain America: The First Avenger, she then got to showcase her screen-holding abilities in a Marvel short film – Agent Carter – which served as an origin story, of sorts. Crucially, original Peggy Carter actress Hayley Atwell will take her portrayal from the cinema to the TV screen, in a show that is written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely – the scribes behind the first two Captain America movies, as well as Thor: The Dark World. These are writers with a deep understanding of the Marvel Universe, and of Agent Carter herself – something that makes this project very exciting indeed. There is no word yet on wider casting, or a planned schedule, but we do know that Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas (both of Reaper fame) are on showrunning duties.
In perhaps less surprising news, ABC has also renewed Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a second season. Ratings have been a little on the disappointing side for this one, but the show has been working hard to hold the interest of its audience. It remains to be seen what the plan is for season two, and whether that will improve its outlook, or not. It will be interesting to see how Agent Carter fares in comparison – though the story is very different, as explained in the official synopsis from ABC:
“Marvel’s Agent Carter,” starring “Captain America’s” Hayley Atwell follows the story of Peggy Carter. It’s 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life – Steve Rogers. Inspired by the feature films “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” along with the short “Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter.” “Marvel’s Agent Carter” stars Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter. Executive producers are Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters, Steve McFeely & Christopher Marcus, and Jeph Loeb.”
The stakes are high for Marvel’s Agent Carter, as the reception of this show will undoubtedly be taken as a tangible indicator of the level of interest audiences have in seeing a female-led Marvel project. That will inevitably affect the likelihood of female-led DC projects, and, as ever, all that positive development will trickle down into non-comic book projects eventually. If this show is a success, it could well blaze a trail for more great leading ladies on both the big and small screen – which makes everyone a winner.