Marvel’s Agent Carter picked up the story of Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) following the events of Captain America: The First Avenger. Airing on ABC during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s midseason break, Agent Carter has offered a new Marvel adventure, further character development of Peggy, as well as ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In episode 5, the series delved into the origins of the Black Widow training program, from which Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff will graduate later on in the continuity of the MCU.
However, before Natasha became a member of The Avengers, Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) infiltrated the Griffith Hotel on Agent Carter, posing as a midwestern girl with hopes of being a dancer. Recently, Regan spoke about her inspiration for Dottie and how she brought the character to life.
In an interview with CBR, Regan explained that Dottie’s “innocence and curiosity” were inspired by Judy Garland’s portrayal of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. As for Dottie’s true character, a graduate of the Red Room Academy, Regan said it was a “dream come true” to explore the origins of Black Widow.
The actress also said she wanted there to be an obvious connection between Dottie and Natasha “in terms of the dance background, the gymnastics, the fluidity and the flexibility.” To achieve a similar fighting style, Regan trained with stunt and martial arts experts; she also studied Johansson’s work with her stunt double.
Dottie’s first introduction as a Black Widow, at the end of episode 4, was certainly reminiscent of Johansson’s portrayals of Natasha in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. Whether because of Regan’s training, the choreography of Dottie’s stunts, or a combination of the two, a similar fighting style is evident in the MCU’s two Black Widows.
On Agent Carter, though, Regan’s character Dottie is primarily an adversary for the show’s star. Episode 5 saw Dottie sneak into Peggy’s room and learn more about the heroine - including a scene in which Dottie replicates Peggy’s accent. Regan explained that Dottie is both “curious” and “baffled” by Peggy, but said the two would be a good match in a fight:
“Well, we've gotten to see a lot of Peggy's strengths already. Obviously, she's an amazing shot - that's her skill. We've gotten to see a lot of Dottie's training. We know what Black Widows are capable of from seeing another very well-known Black Widow, who I sort of became obsessed with once I went down this road. They have very different backgrounds in terms of their training, so they would have very different styles and approaches to violence. I wouldn't say they are the same, but they would be a good match.”
With only a handful of episodes left in Agent Carter’s first season, any conflict between Peggy and Dottie will need to be realized and explored quickly. According to Regan, the final episodes are a “whirlwind” with a lot going on. However, Agent Carter has much more going on outside of the Griffith Hotel.
Although a conclusion to Dottie’s character arc will arrive in the last episodes of the season, Regan spoke about what she’d like to see from the Black Widow should Agent Carter be renewed for a second season. The actress said that the writers have many possible directions in which they could further develop Dottie, calling her character a “chameleon”:
“I feel what we have seen of her is just the tip of the iceberg. Obviously, in that moment she is in Peggy's room, you see her try on Peggy's character. Also, we have a flashback and get to see her do a different character. This woman is capable of anything. That's startling and dangerous, but it feels like there are so many different ways the writers could go with it. That's one of the appealing things about her. Dottie is a chameleon.”
Dottie is a capable adversary to Peggy - arguably more capable than those that Peggy has faced previously on Agent Carter - providing fans with a compelling conflict. However, where Dottie lands following her inevitable showdown with Peggy remains to be seen. But, if the story allows for Dottie to return, it would give the writers more time to develop her character as well as her dynamic with Peggy - that is, providing Agent Carter is renewed for a season 2.
Agent Carter airs Tuesdays @9pm on ABC.