Though Marvel Studios may have stumbled a bit, depending on who you ask, in its first step into the television universe with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the show found its footing in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier tie-in episode and has gotten even better in its second season. Marvel’s next foray into cable television, Agent Carter, will air its eight-episode premiere season during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s midseason break.
Little has been heard about Agent Carter in recent weeks aside from the casting of Lyndsy Fonseca (Nikita) - most likely due to other larger announcements and trailer debuts - with a poster and official synopsis released months ago. However, it seems the previously released synopsis was abbreviated and a new version offers further insight into the first season of Agent Carter.
In the original synopsis, it was revealed that Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) would be going on secret missions for Howard Stark, to be played by Dominic Cooper, while balancing administrative work for the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) and dealing with the loss of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). The new synopsis goes into more detail about what the missions for Stark will be and what role his butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), will play.
Read the full synopsis:
Years before Agent Coulson and his S.H.I.E.L.D. team swore to protect those who cannot protect themselves from threats they cannot conceive, there was Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), who pledged the same oath but lived in a different time when women weren’t recognized as being as smart or as tough as their male counterparts.
But no one should ever underestimate Peggy.
It's 1946 and peace has dealt Peggy 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 finds herself stuck doing administrative work when she would rather be back out in the field; putting her vast skills into play and taking down the bad guys. But she is also trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life, Steve Rogers – aka Captain America.
When old acquaintance Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper, Captain America: The First Avenger) finds himself being framed for unleashing his deadliest weapons to anyone willing to pony up the cash, he contacts Peggy - the only person he can trust - to track down those responsible, dispose of the weapons and clear his name. He empowers his butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D'Arcy, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), to be at her beck and call when needed to help assist her as she investigates and tracks down those responsible for releasing these weapons of mass destruction. But Jarvis, who is a creature of habit and sticks to a rigid daily routine, is going to have to make some major life changes if he’s going to be able to keep up with Peggy.
If caught going on these secret missions for Stark, Peggy could be targeted as a traitor and spend the rest of her days in prison – or worse. And as she delves deeper into her investigation, she may find that those she works for are not who they seem, and she might even begin to question whether Stark is as innocent as he claims.
Peggy Carter has become a fan-favorite character in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe; she is compelling enough to warrant both a Marvel One-Shot and her own spinoff series. As Atwell suggested when talking about Agent Carter, though viewers want to see more “complexities” in her character, the confines of the series offers its own set of challenges both in terms of its length - a mere eight episodes - and how to create a compelling story about characters whose futures are already known by audiences.
While the synopsis alludes to the consequences of Carter’s missions for Stark - that she could wind up living out her life in prison or dying - many viewers already know neither of those situations play out due to her appearance in The Winter Soldier. It is a problem created by any type of prequel using known characters; two other such series currently on television are A&E's Bates Motel and Fox’s Gotham.
Whether these shows deal with the problem of establishing believable danger with enough stakes to create compelling drama is largely up to the viewer, though perhaps one is more successful than the other. In terms of Agent Carter, there are other ways to create drama than putting the central character in mortal danger, but we’ll have to wait until the series premieres to find out what those may be.
Agent Carter will premiere on ABC in January 2015.