What If…? Creator Says Black Widow Is Captain Carter’s Bucky Barnes

Marvel What If
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What If…? began by introducing us to Captain Carter and her adventures in World War II. Her tale ended with her being thrown forward into the future, mirroring Steve Rogers’ time frozen in the ice. The season finale picked up her story around the time of The Winter Soldier, showing that she’d joined S.H.I.E.L.D. and formed a close relationship with her universe’s Black Widow.

The pair has a lot in common: being matched in military experience and fighting skills, as well as having similarly forthright personalities. Now What If…? creator A. C. Bradley has explained that their dynamic was directly inspired by the MCU’s most famous friendship:

“It was more an inspiration of Bucky and Steve. Who would be Peggy’s Bucky? Who’s her BFF? And I just love the idea of writing these two strong kick ass women who are not at odds with each other. They’re not in competition with each other, there’s no jealousy, there’re actually two women supporting each other, saving the day and having fun while doing it. I was just so excited to take my friendships with my female friends, and kind of see that reflected on screen in Peggy and Natasha, which I hope, I think, is the reason that people are vibing with it.”

It makes sense that they’re a take on Steve Rogers and Bucky, particularly because Nat’s regrets about her time as a Widow mirror Bucky’s guilt over being the Winter Soldier. Bradley went into detail on the kind of friendship they’ve developed:

“We all have our Peggy, we all have our Nat, our BFF. A good friend of mine calls them ‘2:00 AM friends.’ She’s like, ‘You have your friends and then you have your friends you can call at two in the morning, and who will throw on their flip flops, grab their car keys and come to wherever you are.’ Whatever you need.”

So what’s next for this alt-slice of the MCU? The mid-credits tease in the final episode saw Captain Carter and Black Widow discovering Steve Rogers’ Hydra-Stomper armor aboard the boat, perhaps hinting that a future episode will see the pair reunited. There were also hints that Carter is interested in meeting a version of Rogers that received the Super-Soldier serum, which would be a very fun encounter.

As one of the most popular characters introduced in What If…? I’m betting we’ll see more of Captain Carter sooner rather than later. Season two of the show is already confirmed, but there have been indications that Hayley Atwell could play her in live-action (possibly as soon as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness).

In the meantime, that whirring sound you hear is a million shippers busily producing fan-fiction and art about Peggy and Nat’s close friendship.

What If…? is available on Disney Plus.