For all the movies Hollywood releases every year, only 15% of them actually star a female in the lead role. This seems to be an even greater problem in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently argued that the reason there hasn't been a female superhero movie yet is because they're just too busy to make one. Thankfully, Marvel is at least willing to take the risk on the small screen and will premiere the female-led Agent Carter early next year.
Fans may remember that Agent Peggy Carter was first seen in Captain America: The First Avenger, managing the super-soldier experiment at Scientific Strategic Reserve that would turn Steve Rogers into Captain America. She also partnered with Howard Stark, father of Iron Man's Tony Stark, to help Cap infiltrate Hydra, and a one-shot attached to the Iron Man 3 DVD fleshed out her character even more. Next, her story will come full circle, as the TV series deals with her life afterward.
At the beginning of Agent Carter, it's 1946; The war is over and Peggy Carter must deal with becoming marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Still working for the covert SSR, she balances administrative work, all while going on secret missions for Howard Stark. Series star Hayley Atwell sat down with TVLine and shared her thoughts on playing the strong female role:
"My favorite part is something the audiences haven't seen yet. It's the development of her character throughout the series which will be someone who is kind of more three-dimensional, something that women can relate to, as not just the competent, strong, intelligent woman in this workforce, but the psychological, emotional cost. What it takes for a woman to have to sacrifice personal relationships in order to find her place in the world and to fulfill her kind of destiny."
As Atwell says, a strong female character isn't just one that can kick ass (though that's helpful as well), but what it really means is being well-developed and having her own agenda. By giving Agent Carter her own struggles in life, independent of others, Marvel has done a lot to pave the way for a strong female-led series. Yet, Atwell is also quick to explain, there will still be some physical action for the character:
"We start end of September, so I have 10 weeks to do a lot of physical training to be able do the stunts and all the combat that's going to be required of me, as well as the stamina to be shooting five days a week in quite intense conditions."
Atwell also confirms Agent Carter will be one story told over eight episodes, airing during the midseason break of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2:
"I think the idea is, because it's eight episodes, it's going to be a very contained, intense adventure, lots of twists and turns along the way. There isn't much time for it to breathe or become too diluted or drawn out. It's going to be a lot of adventure, a lot of action, as well as driving the plot along of this girl trying to form this better world for herself and the people around her."
Right now the series is only expected to have a beginning and an ending within those eight episodes. However, should Agent Carter do well, it's possible ABC and Marvel could decide to bring it back for another season. Gone are the days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Alias, so a new female action series would be a refreshing change of pace from all the others currently populating TV. Let's hope this one's good.
Are you looking forward to Agent Carter? Let us know in the comments below.
Agent Carter will premiere on ABC in January 2015.