Like most MCU female characters, Peggy Carter is a major but underrated player in the growing franchise. Introduced into the quickly forgotten Captain America: The first avenger and played by the equally underrated Hailey Atwell, Peggy served as Steve Rodgers’ love interest in the film, doing little more than support the protagonist as he traveled from a skinny boy with a golden heart to a massive super soldier and avenger. Still, something changed between the movies; Peggy’s memory remained, a huge shadow hovering over the Captain America trilogy and the constant reminder that Steve was out of place.
Over the years, Peggy has returned for short cameos in everything from sequels to Captain America to The ant man and SHIELD agents. Her appearances were just Easter eggs designed to link the larger MCU to the first-ever Avenger, but they had a secondary and possibly involuntary effect. Slowly but surely, Peggy has become a staple of the MCU, a pillar whose influence extends beyond the corners of Captain America and the larger world of the Avengers. An impressive feat, considering that Peggy didn’t even share scenes with another Avenger who isn’t Cap. Still, her place among the key figures in the MCU – Tony Starks and Nick Furis of the world – was almost secured.
The strong female character
Whenever someone wants to praise a fictional female creation, they probably use the term “strong female character.” This is an appropriately vague term to describe an equally vague figure that checks each box to list what female characters Must be. She is independent, capable, intelligent and does an excellent job. A strong female character does not need a man, but she usually finds one. She takes names and kicks her ass without even breaking a nail. Strong female characters are a good way to avoid the responsibility of writing a three-dimensional woman. So what if the audience knows nothing about these women? They are great at what they do!
Initially, Peggy was just another strong but routine female character. The first avenger presented her as the only woman in power in the army at the height of World War II. Everyone respects her because that’s what the movie says. The audience sees Steve’s journey from an insecure boy to a confident man of action, but much of Peggy’s evolution takes place before the plot begins. In fact, the film focuses on how she can help Steve consolidate Captain America’s legacy; her desires and needs become secondary to his. True, this is his film, but Peggy had the potential to be much more than a one-time love interest.
MCU, with significant help from comics, also noticed this potential and made Peggy one of the key figures in the creation of SHIELD. Except it all happened off camera. The franchise told its fans that Peggy was important, but again ignored it show then. She was close to death the next time she showed up, talking to Steve about old times Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Once again, Peggy was key to Steve, the only person who reminded him of his own time and the person he had been before. A year later, she returned during the opening of The ant man to help establish Hank Pim’s credentials for the MCU and then during Cap’s dream sequence The Avengers: The Age of Ultronagain acting as the personification of all that he has lost.
At the time, Peggy was one of the MCU’s secret weapons, a malleable character who could fit into America from World War II as easily as he could in modern London. Still, there was much to see about her, more to know about her life, which fans knew was innovative enough to guarantee her own film. MCU was expanding rapidly, with B-level characters such as Ant-Man and The Guardian of the Galaxy leading major films. Surely the MCU may find time to pay some attention to Peggy, right? It happened, but not in the way people expected.
Agent Carter, A 15-minute short focus on one of Peggy’s missions before the creation of SHIELD, opened the door to a TV show focused on the character. In those days, Marvel was still far from its current shared television universe, with only Marvel agents from SHIELD maintaining continuity with the MCU. Thus, Agent Carter was something of an experiment for Marvel that would test the viability of translating MCUs to the small screen.
The series puts Carter in front and in the center, showing the difficulties in juggling her career and personal life in the sexist culture of America after World War II. Agent Carter had a unique angle, rich period tuning and the potential to show some of the most important events in the MCU. Above all, he had a captivating character who spent too long to be sidelined, even though he had one of the most intriguing stories in the Marvel universe.
alas Agent Carter could not connect with the mass audience. At a time when MCU fans were enjoying the ambition of the franchise’s interconnectedness, the series was a journey of nostalgia that did not improve the overall story in any significant way. Both seasons didn’t even show Carter’s creation of SHIELD, perhaps the biggest selling point of the series. One of the MCU’s biggest strengths is its ability to present a single story in multiple chapters. This is the main reason fans watch every Marvel movie in theaters; the fear of missing out is too strong. Focusing 100% on his central character may seem like a way for most shows, but these series are not run within the limits of the MCU. The neglect of the larger world was, after all Agent Carterthe death of.
Following Agent CarterAfter Peggy’s repeal, Peggy went into obscurity. She died during the events of Captain America: Civil War, putting a rather anti-climactic end to the life of this pioneer. Three years later, Peggy returned to give Steve his long-awaited dance. The Avengers: End of the game brings together the stars in love in one last turn, which remains divisive among fans. Seeing Cap with Peggy was a triumph for him rather than for her, because she existed again only to serve Steve’s interests. After all, his dream was to dance with her; fans had seen her move forward during the events of Agent Carter, and even the movies showed her to get married and start a family. And yet here she was with Steve, living the life she had obviously always wanted, despite the many events that suggested otherwise.
The Avengers: End of the game put a neat bow to Peggy’s plot and fans expected that her journey was finally over. So when Marvel announced its animated series, What if…?, many fans raised their eyebrows in disbelief. Peggy Carter will return to MCU, this time in animation and as a superhero. Captain Carter was crucial What if…?the promotional campaign of, probably acting as the most famous “hook” of the show. Expectations for the show were high, especially after the huge success of WandaVision and Lokiand the show did not disappoint.
Reviews for What if…? were positive, with critics and fans appreciating this new angle to explore the different angles of the MCU. Captain Carter’s episode received considerable praise for Atwell’s performance and Peggy’s new characterization, and although many found the plot too similar to The first avenger, almost everyone agreed that it was a pleasure to finally see Peggy in the spotlight. It’s unfortunate that Marvel had to turn her into a superhero to get her attention, especially when Peggy was one of MCU’s most significant and interesting weaklings. However, the hero finally got the trick she always deserved.
Captain Carter introduced another great female character to the MCU, without Wanda’s instability, Black Widow’s questionable morals, or Captain Marvel’s relationship problems. Captain Carter is a born leader, forged in the hardships of war and sent through the multiverse thanks to the antics of Tesseract. Like Captain America before her, Captain Carter is the best soldier: incorruptible, steadfast, uncompromising, and morally flawed. And yet she is not a cheat on Captain America. Peggy is less stoic, more determined, and used to the constant battle that comes with being a hero. Finally, fans had to see a new side of Peggy, which has always been there, but only recently got a chance to shine.
What the future holds
The upcoming Dr. Strange in the multiverse of madness will present an action version of Captain Carter, and not so soon. It was a pleasure to see the character in the animation, but to see her in all her glory on the big screen will be the redemption that her fans needed. Already announced season 2 of What if…? suggests that Captain Carter is not going anywhere, and a positive reception could mean a rebirth of the character. As everyone gets a Disney + spin, a Captain Carter-oriented one may appear on the horizon. And as the multiverse is playing an increasingly important role in the MCU, who’s to say that Captain Carter can’t appear in Captain America 4?
It was a long and winding journey for Peggy Carter, but it proved its worth to the entire MCU more than once, in more ways than one. She may still be a strong female character, at least on paper, but the development of the character of Wanda Maximoff and Natasha Romanov proved that Marvel no longer neglects its female figures. The possibilities for Peggy are endless. She was a lot of things – love interest, human, superhero, common denominator – often at once, which makes her unique in the Marvel catalog of mostly static characters.
MCU has an incredible asset in Peggy and has always known it, but he chose to ignore it for some reason. No longer. There could be no better time for Peggy Carter to rise from the unknown and enter the spotlight she always deserved.
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