Even though it’s been two years since it happened, Marvel fans are still mourning the loss of Agent Carter, the spinoff TV show that starred Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, the kickass WWII spy who initially debuted in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. The cult favourite series enjoyed two seasons before it was unceremoniously cancelled by ABC and though there has been vaguely positive talk about some kind of return over the years, nothing has come from that as yet.
But why did ABC cancel Agent Carter in the first place? To date, it’s the only TV show that’s part of the MCU to be officially axed. Even Inhumans just seems to have been quietly disposed of while no one was looking. While talking with AV Club, Atwell opened up about this and explained how it was all to do with ratings. Though Marvel wanted to keep it going, ABC was after something more mainstream.
“It’s a shame the network canceled it and wanted to put me in something more mainstream. You know, Marvel didn’t want it to end. There’s lots of online campaigns to bring her back. Fans loved her. I think it was just a network economical thing: “Let’s put Hayley Atwell in something more mainstream that’s less genre-specific and see if we can get higher ratings.”
The “mainstream” series Atwell is talking about is Conviction, a legal drama with the actress in the lead which immediately followed Agent Carter. Basically, the network could have decided to pick up one or the other and they went with what they thought was the safer bet in Conviction. As it turned out, that lasted 13 episodes before getting the chop itself. Now, no one remembers it while Agent Carter still has a legion of fans. Good choice, ABC.
On the bright side, Atwell went on to say how she hopes that the character of Peggy Carter has made some impact on the comic book film and TV genre. Agent Carter was the first MCU property to be female-led, after all.
“Maybe, in small ways, characters like Peggy Carter very slowly paved the way for it to be possible for other female-led narratives to exist.”
Sadly, even the MCU movies haven’t featured Atwell of late, though rumor has it she could be back for Avengers 4. After the significant role the character has held in the franchise, Peggy certainly deserves that, even if Agent Carter was cruelly curtailed.