Marvel's Agent Carter might be the first title produced by the studio to have a female lead, but the supporting cast is very testosterone-heavy. Enver Gjokaj, Chad Michael Murray, Shea Whigham and James D'Arcy have all joined Agent Carter in recent weeks, and Captain America: The First Avenger star Dominic Cooper has long been expected to reprise his role as Howard Stark, the father of Iron Man.
This makes sense in light of the official synopsis for Agent Carter, which describes protagonist Peggy Carter (played once again by Hayley Atwell) finding herself "marginalized" after America's fighting men return from abroad following the end of World War II. Refusing to stay stuck in her administrative duties, Carter takes on covert missions for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (a precursor to S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Howard Stark.
Since he's mentioned in the synopsis it seems logical that Howard Stark would appear in the show, but now this has been confirmed on Marvel's official news site. The press release doesn't offer much detail beyond a confirmation of the casting, but it sounds like Cooper will play a prominent role in the eight episodes of Agent Carter's first season, which will air on ABC during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s midseason break. The showrunners behind the series are Reaper creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas.
Cooper has been keeping busy since his last appearance as Howard Stark in the Marvel One-Shot Agent Carter. In addition to some stage work, he played James Bond author Ian Fleming in a biographical mini-series, was the wealthy antagonist of Need for Speed and next month can be seen in the action fantasy film Dracula Untold. Cooper doesn't often dip into the world of long-form television series, but it's easy to see why he'd make an exception for Marvel.
Peggy Carter has had a pervasive presence in the more grounded stories of the Marvel cinematic (and TV universe). She appeared in both Captain America films and Atwell recently guest-starred Agents of S.H.I.EL.D.'s season two premiere. Since Agent Carter will in many ways be a prequel to ABC's current Marvel show, covering the backstory of how S.H.I.E.L.D. was first formed, it wouldn't be surprising if the two series continue to exchange nods and references.
It was Atwell herself who first let slip the fact that Cooper would be reprising his role in the series, promising that she would use it as an opportunity to get back at him for playing pranks on her. Hopefully that off-screen friendliness will translate to some great on-screen chemistry between the two.
Agent Carter will premiere on ABC in January 2015.