The Marvel Cinematic Universe has massively expanded its world over the the last eight years, ever since launching in 2008’s Iron Man. But, Marvel took a particularly important step forward in 2013 with the debut of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC – the first television offshoot of the cinematic world. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., led by MCU supporting character Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), was followed by Agent Carter, a 1940s-set Captain America: The First Avenger spinoff starring fan-favorite Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).
However, since ABC launched these two series, Marvel TV additionally partnered with Netflix to roll out a smaller TV universe set entirely in New York City and featuring The Defenders. While Netflix’s street-level heroes have garnered the streaming service and Marvel plenty of critical acclaim, ABC’s series haven’t been quite as critically beloved – and Agent Carter in particular didn’t earn the same level of ratings as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As a result, ABC cancelled Agent Carter last spring after two seasons on the air.
Since the cancellation, fans, Atwell, and Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb have discussed their hopes of continuing Agent Carter in some other format – such as a TV special or movie – or on another platform, like Netflix. Along that line, Loeb told EW in a recent interview that Marvel TV had hoped Agent Carter would continue, but the decision was ultimately up to ABC. He said:
Unlike the movie studio where they can say, ‘In 2019 we’re making Captain Marvel,’ the television division doesn’t have that ability. We are, at the end of the day, beholden to the network that we’re on. So for all of you Agent Carter fans out there, we didn’t cancel the show.
While Agent Carter season 2 was still airing, ABC had a number of other Marvel properties in various stages of development, including the S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff Most Wanted, the sitcom Damage Control, and the mystery John Ridley project. Since then, ABC has culled some of its Marvel projects, cancelling Agent Carter and choosing to not move forward on Most Wanted, while Damage Control has quietly remained in the development stages. Rather, ABC and Marvel TV are moving forward with a television series following The Inhumans, for which they partnered with IMAX. All this is to say that ABC seems to be moving in a more streamlined, cinematic direction with its Marvel TV offerings.
For Agent Carter fans who hoped Netflix would rescue the series – as they have with other cancelled properties – the streaming service’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos explained they’re more interested in original content when it comes to Marvel. Further complicating matters of an Agent Carter revival is Atwell’s involvement in ABC procedural Conviction – however, the series may be in trouble as it didn’t receive a full season order, though it hasn’t yet been officially cancelled.
Still, with all the television projects Marvel currently has in various stages of development – including the expanding Netflix universe, Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger, Hulu’s The Runaways, as well as the previously mentioned ABC projects – there’s plenty of comic book content on the way. While Agent Carter fans may hold out hope for some kind of revival, it remains to be seen whether any such program will be given a green light. But, viewers can rest assured that it seems both Atwell and Loeb are just as disappointed with the Agent Carter cancellation as fans.
We’ll keep you updated on Agent Carter as more information becomes available.