Agent Carter season 2 has wrapped – but her story is far from over. The Marvel Universe has a lot of big things planned for Peggy, Howard Stark, and the founders of SHIELD.
The story thus far
The final episode of Agent Carter (other episode recaps here) had an appropriately “Hollywood Ending” with most of the major cast surviving – even Wilkes (who was apparently never a spy, unlike his comic counterpart) and Whitney Frost (who no longer has powers, but now has a damaged face, setting her up to become Madame Masque) – and a cliffhanger ending with Chief Jack Thompson, who’d gone from bad cop to potential love interest to emotionally traumatized ex-soldier to tough boss to potential Hydra recruit to self-sacrificing hero to a potential feminist supporting Carter, getting shot by a mysterious assailant after Peggy’s secret OSE file.
The show had some nods (intentional or not) to other entertainment – like Whitney Frost’s Alex Mac-style reformation, or the reference to her two Oscar nominations the week after the Oscars aired…
… and to the comics, with the Zero Matter dimension (presumably the Darkforce Dimension from the comics) being like a cancer that consumed everything in its realm before it set its sights on Earth. While Darkforce is often negative, it isn’t always in the comics, but Wilkes seemed to be describing the Cancerverse, which is an entire dimension in which ancient Lovecraftean gods killed Death and overwhelmed all existence with hideous, tortured life. That dimension is so oppressively full that even a small crack seeping into the regular Marvel Universe could mean the destruction of everything.
So, what about the big question?
Where can Agent Carter go next?
Obviously this all hinges on whether or not there is a Season 3. Some feel this is unlikely, Haley Atwell seems to think it’s going to happen, and others say it’s a lock. Let’s say it does happen, what loose threads are left?
Obliviously there’s the identity of Thompson’s murderer [EDIT: or attempted murderer (Thanks Taltos!)]. The two most likely suspects are Dottie “Black-Widow-in-all-but-name” Underwood and Vernon “Not-the-Taskmaster” Masters, but Dottie was last seen escaping Peggy and the SSR, so she’d have no reason to get back into the thick of it, and Masters is probably dead, as he was the only one in the explosion who didn’t have a built-in immunity to Zero Matter.
Speaking of Dottie, what is up with her and Leviathan? This group isn’t mentioned by modern SHIELD, so it either isn’t a threat anymore or it went back underground. But Dottie was after the Arena Club pin for a reason, and we don’t know what that is yet.
And what’s up with the Arena Club pin? Thompson discovered it turns into a key, but what kind of lock would be secret enough that no one should have an obvious key, but common enough that all Arena Club members would have a key for it? Maybe this is tied to the Kree rock from Agents of SHIELD‘s current season, but at this point, it’s anybody’s guess.
Then there’s Stark’s “new project” he came up with in Peru that will go forward in Malibu alongside Dr. Wilkes. He thinks it’ll be “big,” but what does that mean? In the Iron Man movies, the Stark family home (along with its massive underground science facilities) is in Malibu, and the original Howard and Vanko-designed Arc Reactor was nearby, as seen in the first Iron Man. [EDIT: that’s exactly what it’s referring to (Thanks Taltos!)]
What of Anton Vanko? He made a brief appearance in season 1, and allegedly he and Howard were long-time colleagues before Vanko tried to betray the US or Howard falsely accused him of being a traitor (depending on who you believe in Iron Man 2). Sure, that betrayal wasn’t supposed to happen until the early 1960s, but there’s no reason it couldn’t happen next season.
On the topic of dangling threads, what about the Agent Carter One-Shot? Sure, that short film from the Iron Man 3 DVD extras may not be canon anymore (as it is increasingly difficult to fit Peggy’s post-war treatment alongside Howard Stark bossing the SSR around and founding SHIELD prior to the current series), but it did leave some tantalizing ideas. Peggy single-handedly fought Zodiac members and found a vial with the mark of the Zodiac Key on it (the top image). In the comics, this is a pretty major thing that causes trouble whenever it pops up. In season 1, there were appearances by members of the Zodiac Cartel, but not much came of it. This could use a payoff (as Roxxon’s brief appearance led to more of Roxxon this season).
Then there’s her post-SHIELD founding work, as Ant-Man revealed Peggy and Howard worked closely as they ran SHIELD in the early 1960s. Maybe there’s something that can be done with early SHIELD missions, all kept out of the public eye.
And of course, Captain America: The Winter Soldier revealed that Peggy (like her comic book counterpart) eventually succumbs to Alzheimer’s or another related syndrome, but that long after that she had children with a man Captain America saved (Is this Sousa? We don’t know exactly how he got his leg wound.). Plus, Sharon Carter appeared in the film, and while she’s been variously said to be Peggy’s sister or niece in the comics, she clearly isn’t Michael’s daughter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though it is possible she’s Peggy’s kid or grandkid.
Peggy’s Future in the Comics
Originally, Peggy had a very depressing story in the comics, as it seemed she dated Captain America for a few weeks in the war, then went into seclusion for the next several decades, going insane until Dr. Faustus and Captain America found her again. Subsequent comics have shown she was pretty damn active during the war and after.
In 1944, she worked alongside Sgt. Fury, Dum Dum, and a mysterious fellow called Codename: Bravo, who was a psychic super soldier that had nonreciprocal feelings for Peggy. Years later, his instability became a major problem for Captain America and SHIELD, and he’d be an interesting addition to the third season.
Their brief mission involved a kid named Jimmy Jupiter sending denizens of the dream world against the Nazis. We’ve talked about Jimmy before on this site, and he’s a fascinating character no matter how you slice him – and man would it be interesting to see Peggy leave reality and head into Wonderland, if only briefly.
In 1952, Peggy and Howard teamed up with the mysterious Woodrow McCord, also known as The Man on the Wall. He’s outfitted with a combination of alien weaponry and technology developed by immortal geniuses called the Brotherhood of the Shield (including Howard Stark) to fight threats the world isn’t ready to know about – chiefly aliens. During this adventure, Howard stumbles upon some alien technology (like Zero Matter) and Peggy forbids Stark from experimenting on it (like she did with Zero Matter) but Stark does anyway (hmmm). The results of this haven’t been shown yet. Either McCord or the Brotherhood would be amazing on this show.
The three of them team up with a werebear which is significant because Peggy is friends with a wearbear. That cannot be said enough.
In 1966, Peggy was actively working with SHIELD (or rather, with Project: Shield, as the actual “SHIELD” agency wasn’t formed until decades later). She meets Thor’s friend, the warrior Sif, while stationed on a prototype Hellicarier, and interestingly, Peggy acts as if this isn’t the first Asgardian she’s met! (Thor visited Earth at least once in the 40s and at least once in the 60s, but in the 1950s he was working for Loki, who was in charge of Asgard at the time). Sif has already guest starred in Agents of SHIELD, why not here?
By the modern era, after Peggy came out of her decades-long depression, she joined (or re-joined) SHIELD and even at her advanced age, was willing to take on the Red Skull and other enemies. In SHIELD she met and fell in love with Gabriel Jones, who was a soldier in World War II who (like Nick Fury) was given the Infinity Formula (created by the Brotherhood of the SHIELD), allowing him to serve his country for decades while showing few signs of age.
Peggy’s Other Comic Book Influence
As said before, Peggy’s cinematic debut was very much based on the comic book character Betty Ross (the great aunt of the Hulk’s wife Betsy Ross). In the comics, Betty was the liaison who worked with scrawny Steve Rogers and guided him in the field when he became Captain America. After Steve disappeared in the ice, she worked with subsequent Captain Americas, including Jeff Mace (formerly the superhero called Patriot), with whom she later fell in love, got married and (presumably) had kids. More significantly, she also became the superhero Golden Girl in 1948, fighting alongside other post-War superheroes. We’ve written about Golden Girl before too, and interestingly, Maria Hill described Captain America as a hero from the 1940s in the first episode of SHIELD, not as the “only” superhero from World War II, so it’s possible other heroes existed at this time, and BOY would they be amazing to see in season 3!
What to Expect When You’re Expecting Season 3
In reality few, if any, of these plot threads will be picked up in the new season as writers will probably want to go in a whole new direction (as they did with Season 2), but dang it, the door is open, and there’s a lot of material to mine!