Marvel Studio's television "experiment," Agents of SHIELD, has thus far proven a success in terms of ratings, but it's too early to determine if the series will last beyond a single season (especially given the hardcore fans' mixed reception to the first two episodes). However, even viewers who aren't yet invested in following the continuing adventures of Agent Coulson and his "not exactly a team" of SHIELD agents (and one underground hacker) have good reason to keep an eye on how that situation unfolds.
The reason? Marvel is reported to have begun development on another TV series titled Agent Carter, a period espionage-thriller set during WWII and revolving around Agent Peggy Carter (played by Hayley Atwell in Marvel's "Phase 1" movie, Captain America: The First Avenger). Peggy and/or Atwell fans at least have the character/actress' reprisal in the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier to look forward to, even if the proposed show never sees the light of day.
It was a while back when Atwell's Captain America costar, Stanley Tucci, let the proverbial cat out of the bag, with regard to the news that Peggy will appear via a sequence that flashes back to Cap's experiences in WWII in The Winter Soldier; though, set photos have since revealed that won't be her only appearance in the sequel. In addition, the actress has informed Digital Spy that the WWII scenes in Winter Soldier won't be composed of recycle footage either, having told the site in an interview that "I went over earlier this year to Pittsburgh to film, so all the ['Winter Soldier' footage] is new footage."
When asked about the potential Agent Carter TV series, Atwell replied:
"I read about that too. The ['Agent Carter'] one-shot was so successful, the fanbase were like, 'We want more of Peggy!'. I think Marvel probably take that very seriously, and it's certainly something I would be a part of doing. I'd be interested to show different sides of Peggy."
Judging by Atwell's comments, Agent Carter must still in the very early stages of development, seeing how the actress has either not yet been approached by Marvel yet about her possibly headlining the show - which she implies is the case - or, rather, she's just not yet allowed to acknowledge that she has been talking to the studio about such a project (another possibly, given Marvel's habit of keeping secrets under lock and key ahead of time).
Either way, Atwell told Digital Spy that she's game for additional development of the Peggy Carter character, when she said:
"Although she's kick-ass, and she can be aggressive and she can be just as competent as the men, it'd be nice to show that she's a feminist in a way. It's not just about her being aggressive and as aggressive as the men in those action sequences, but being able to be a little bit more rounded as a person. I think she could be a great role model and a great member of the Marvel Universe."
That point raised by Atwell is part of a ongoing larger conversation about female characters in geek culture; in this particular situation, how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is populated by strong (as in, both physically/mentally) women, but some aren't so three-dimensional characters as their male counterparts. After all, if Tony Stark can have a razor-sharp wit, yet also suffer from post-trauma anxiety - or if Thor can fearlessly smash enemies with his hammer one moment, awkwardly stammer in front of his girlfriend the next - then it should be okay for Peggy to get her own moments of true weakness. (And no, recklessly firing a gun at Steve Rogers (when he's behind his shield, that is) because she's jealous doesn't count).
Mind you, there are well-developed female characters in the MCU - Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Pepper Potts, Jane Foster - but so far they've tended to play second-fiddle to the male superheroes and/or are too often relegated to being foremost a romantic interest (and, occasionally, a damsel in need of saving). Of course, there can often be a good reason and purpose for those kind of characters but, as Atwell said during her interview, some more variety in the MCU female roles would be welcomed (by more than just her and her fellow actresses, as well):
"Where are the women? Where are the women who are leading and not just the hot sex symbol in the tight outfits, or the aggressive ones with their sexy action sequences? Where are the ones that are battling with their own identity like Iron Man is? Or trying to make a difference in the forefront? There were a couple of articles that the producer of the Marvel one-shot sent me last month about that very question. Journalists were going, 'Where are these women?' and, 'We want them, we actually want them', which is wonderful for me, because that hopefully means more time to play those parts."
Marvel executives aren't oblivious to the demand (read: market) for female leads/superheroes either, which is why the studio is reported to be making plans to release a female superhero film sometime in the foreseeable future. There are other factors at work that will determine whether or not the Agent Carter TV show becomes a reality (with Atwell reprising in the title role), but with the tide moving in the show's favor and the hope that Agents of SHIELD will continue to improve and grow in popularity, there's a reasonable chance that we'll get to see Peggy kick some HYDRA butt on the small screen... eventually.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters on April 4th, 2014.
We'll let you know more about Agent Carter when we do.
Source: Digital Spy