Although responses to the first season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were predominantly mixed (and saw a marked upswing during the last run of episodes) many can agree that it didn’t quite live up to the expectations of a television series existing within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As their next extension of the MCU, Agent Carter is poised to be Marvel’s second try at a television tie in to the studio’s wildly successful Avengers franchise.
During an interview with Marvel at the ABC upfronts, Hayley Atwell (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) spoke about the upcoming Agent Carter series - which is set to air during a midseason break of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - and touched on how the show will offer a more nuanced portrayal of the titular character, in addition to mentioning the length of the series' debut season.
It’s been almost three years since Atwell first portrayed Peggy Carter within the MCU. Carter debuted in Captain America: The First Avenger, then appeared in the one-shot digital short Agent Carter that was released with Iron Man 3 on DVD, and finally made a cameo in The Winter Soldier. Now, Atwell is reprising the role again, and getting her own series - one that, according to the actress, will develop and explore the character further.
Here's the quote from Atwell:
"I think the main thing is fans feel that they've seen her being capable, being sexy, being a femme fatale and they want to see something more. They want to see the complexities, the three dimensions of her, what makes her tick, what makes her crumble, what makes her crash and the limitations of who she is because that makes her all the more relatable."
Though Atwell’s character is getting her own series -- rather than a one-shot or a part in another hero’s film -- Agent Carter will only run for a short first season consisting of 8 episodes. However, Atwell explained that showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas have planned both outward and inward battles for Carter in the show’s first season:
"I think over the arc of the 8 episodes there will be very different facets to who she is, which won't disappoint the fans in making sure that she has a story within herself as well as the stories of each episode fighting who she fights against and still battling with her own demons and losing the love of her life and what a personal cost to her that is. So there's many different ideas behind who she is and I think she's going to become more interesting."
One heartening aspect of Agent Carter’s limited season is that the show’s story must be compact in order to fit within those 8 episodes. So, while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may have suffered from having to fill out a 22-episode season (especially during those first 16 episodes), the story arc and character development for Agent Carter must be fully planned out and executed within a much shorter span of time. Though Agent Carter is running on ABC, perhaps the showrunners could take notes from other series with shorter seasons, like HBO’s True Detective.
Many fans may be disappointed by the limited run of the show’s debut season, but after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. failed to meet expectations, 8 episodes might be the perfect number to test the waters before viewers - and the network - decide to commit to Agent Carter.
We’ll let you know when Agent Carter gets an official premiere date.