Q: So what’s the premise of this new "Agent Carter" show?
A: Post-WWII, Agent Peggy Carter fights a secret
war against the forces of evil, assisted by millionaire industrialist Howard
Stark and two-fisted vet Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan.
Q: Is this gonna be cool?
A. See that picture? That was the least attractive picture I could find. If it were nothing but Halely Atwell saying the
word “vibranium” for 45 minutes, it would still be the best thing on
Q: Isn’t this a lot like “Agents of
A: Yes and no. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is about
the guys who show up when weirdness goes public, in a world where superheroes
fighting alien invasions is now a fact of life.
“Agent Carter” can take place in a world
where the forces of evil stay more covert and traditional spycraft rules the
day. It’s dieselpunk “Alias.”
A: Oh, all kinds.
Baron Strucker is helping what’s left of
HYDRA make that awkward transition from Nazi super-science division to James
Baron Zemo is hunkered down in Brazil,
performing weird experiments with . . . artificial life and youth serums and
adhesives, I guess. He’s a different kind of crazy than Strucker . . . he wants
to conquer the world, yes, but in order to SAVE it.
The Yellow Claw would also be acceptable,
provided they borrow the recent bit from the comics establishing that (1) the
proper translation is “Golden Claw,” and (2) he intentionally plays up the whole
Yellow Menace angle, as it causes fools to fear him and wiser men to
underestimate him. Sort of a riff on Iron Man 3's depiction of the Mandarin, in
This is the Cold War, so we gotta have some
Soviets. The Red Guardian is their version of Captain America — WWII hero /
living propaganda. Could be an occasional ally, if they’re pursuing a common
interest like Nazi-smashin’.
Q: Are there some classic stories from this era
they could adapt?
A. No, sir. In the comics, Cap never even knew
Peggy’s real name. She went crazy after he disappeared and spent decades
institutionalized. Great storytelling, House of Ideas.
In the actual publishing history of Timely /
Atlas / Marvel Comics, there was very little happening during that
period. Superheroes were out of style, apart from a short-lived surge of female
characters like Namora and Sun Girl, and Black Canary over at DC. So there’s an
odd bit of precedent for a post-war crimefighting femme fatale.
This era gave us the aforementioned girl
heroes, the short-lived All-Winners Squad (the Invaders, plus the Whizzer and
Ms. America), the continuing diminishing-returns adventures of Namor and the
Human Torch, and a series of replacement Captain Americas.
As we move into the 1950s, you’ve got all the
stuff that later went into “Agents of Atlas” — Jimmy Woo vs. the Yellow Claw,
Gorilla-Man, Marvel Boy, 3-D Man versus the Skrulls, etc.
This is not the most fertile soil from which
to grow a TV series in the year 2014, and it is all terribly obscure stuff. Now
some of the more recent comics where we find out that the Order of the Shield
goes back to ancient Egyptians defeating the Brood invasion and such . . .
that’s all great stuff.
Q: So is Captain America in this?
A: I think Chris Evans eventually drops in. Maybe
some flashbacks, maybe some imposter stuff, maybe some dream sequence stuff. I
am assuming that he’s a pretty good guy, and is also willing to take a
good-sized check to kiss Halely Atwell.
But in the comics, there were three
replacement Caps during this period: Willam Nasland, then Jeff Mace, then
William Burnside. Obvious story potential here — are they just new guys hired
to wear the suit? Super-Soldier experiments gone wrong?
Q: This has lots of Iron Man and Cap stuff. . .
A: He’s like 1500 years old. He could show up at
any time. And you can’t tell me that Tom Hiddleston wouldn’t guest star as
Loki. He would be all over that.
In the alternative, I’d like to see Dugan and
Volstagg get very drunk and fight, like, a Communist frost giant.
In the further alternative . . . maybe
something with Peggy teaming up with Sif? There’s a book out right now where
Misty Knight and Valkyrie team up . . . something like that.
A: Not born yet, but . . . in the comics, they’ve
set up that (1) the Communists have been running a “Black Widow” program of
scientifically enhanced secret agents for decades, and (2) Natasha is much, much
older than she looks, because Science.
While I think the Infinity Formula has its
place in this series, I don’t think they’d go the route of mentioning that
Scarlet Johannsen has been 70-some all this time. For Agent Carter purposes,
just give her as a recurring nemesis / frenemy a redheaded Russian superspy, the
first graduate of the Soviet’s Black Widow program, aiming to put some red in
A: Also not born yet, but if you wanted to have
your era-appropriate Hawkeye tie-in . . . Jacques Duquesne, master sword-fighter
and knife-thrower, guerilla fighter in Indochina, occasional circus performer.
He could be a regular or recurring character with shifting loyalties. He ends
up working for the good guys, and 50 years later, S.H.I.E.L.D. still sends
youngsters like Agent Clint Barton to train with the boozy old French guy they
call the Swordsman.
A: I am all for including Agent Fury. Four options:
1. Jake Fury is a
decorated African-American combat vet moving into intelligence work, recruited
by proto-S.H.I.E.L.D because they see ability, not color. His baby boy wears
black diapers and an eyepatch.
2. Nick Fury is a decorated
African-American combat vet who was part of the Super-Soldier experiments
during/after the war. Might’ve given him a little boost in his physical
attributes, but nothing like Steve Rogers. Only as the decades pass does he
realize that his aging has been slowed down. In 1948, he was the rookie . . .
sixty years later, he’s running the place.
3. If you really want to mix
things up . . . do a classic Nick Fury, white guy with an eyepatch and a cigar.
Eventually Sam Jackson’s dad. That would be weird.
4. Or hell, just use Nia Jones.
In the comics, she’s a recently introduced character who was the lover of the
original recipe Nick Fury, and mother of Nick Fury, Jr. So, an African American
female superspy in the late 1940s. Bet the Soviets never saw that coming. Make
her the sister of Gabe Jones from the Howlers.
A: We have several ideas for a Hulk tie-in, but
they are mostly pretty crummy.