Back in 2011, fans were delighted to be introduced to one of Marvel's preeminent female heroes; Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter, the kick-ass lost love of Steve Rogers. At first, we thought Peggy's story was over when her beloved Captain America was frozen in the ice. Only a couple of years later, though, we were overjoyed to see Atwell return in the beloved Agent Carter series.
With the cancellation of Agent Carter, followed by the character's death in last year's Captain America: Civil War, we thought #Marvel had closed the book on poor Peggy once again. Atwell recently left fans thrilled as she spoke of her willingness to return to the MCU, giving us a glimmer of hope that she'd one day reprise the role. What we didn't expect, though, was for her to meet up with Marvel Studios Co-President Louis D'Esposito just a few days later. It might have just been the case that two old friends were meeting up, but the close working relationship between the two — which saw D'Esposito direct the Agent Carter one-shot, as well as an episode of the TV series — leads us to believe that could be something afoot.
Is it possible that Hayley Atwell will be reprising her role as Agent Carter? And what form could this take?
1) A Return Of The TV Series
Let's start with the option that fans are most eager to see; a third season of Agent Carter. Speaking at Heroes & Villains Fan Fest in London earlier this year, Atwell teased what she expected from Marvel in Season 3. She was hoping for a more personal story, one that explored the influence of Peggy's brother on her life. Discussing the rise of female superhero films and TV shows, she explained that she views it as the result of a "conversation" between fans and TV execs. Continued support from a loyal fanbase still proves there's demand, and Marvel Entertainment clearly recognize that; they called Atwell in to reprise the role in the upcoming animated series Secret Wars (which is sadly not part of the MCU).
Unfortunately, there's currently no evidence networks are interested in Agent Carter Season 3. ABC canceled the series because they wanted to prioritize the more mainstream Conviction, and they've shown no sign of revisiting that decision, even if Conviction did end up canceled. Some fans initially hoped that Netflix might save Agent Carter, but the streaming service passed in favor of original content.
The meeting with D'Esposito is unlikely to be connected to a TV series. Back in 2015, Marvel Studios and Marvel Entertainment were separated in an organizational restructure, so D'Esposito doesn't have much to do with the TV side of Marvel anymore.
2) An Agent Carter Movie
We may know how Agent Carter's story ends — we saw her funeral in Civil War, after all — but Atwell believes she has a lot of potential. As she noted in a recent interview:
"I'd love to see [Peggy] more in films. I'd love to see her in her own film. And if we can keep evolving it so that she does new things so that I can surprise myself and she can keep surprising me then I'd love to do it."
An actor wanting to reprise a popular role? Hardly a surprising comment, but note how confident Atwell is in Peggy's potential. She even suggested an Agent Carter movie!
Again, unfortunately, this is very unlikely indeed. The sad truth is that Marvel Studios doesn't seem to be in much of a hurry to synergize their movies with the TV shows. Fans have been clamoring for the popular Netflix characters to show up on the big screen, even if just in a cameo role, pretty much since Daredevil debuted. Yet, fan demand has so far yielded no positive results. What's more, the studio has been strangely reluctant to sign off female-led movies; while we're due to get Captain Marvel (at last) in 2019, we still haven't had any news about a Black Widow film. Everybody's in favor of it, and Scarlett Johansson has openly said that the clock is ticking on that idea, and surely Marvel would prioritize Black Widow over Agent Carter.
3) A Role In Another Marvel Movie
Hayley Atwell will reprising her role in one of the upcoming Marvel movies, just as she did in the Ant-Man flashback, is by far the most likely option. Some fans have suggested she could return through the use of the Time Stone in Avengers: Infinity War or the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4. A more likely scenario, though, is that Atwell could play a major role in Captain Marvel. Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel will see the Earth caught between two alien empires. It would make sense for S.H.I.E.L.D. to play a major role, and Peggy Carter may even have been Director at that time.
Meanwhile, Ant-Man and the Wasp promises to see Hank Pym and Scott Lang "uncover secrets from their past." It's possible that we'll get more flashbacks as part of these "secrets," and we could easily see more of Pym's time working alongside S.H.I.E.L.D..
With Marvel Studios increasingly willing to jump around the timeline, Peggy Carter has become an important background character who could easily fit into any story. Looking beyond the movies that are already in production, Atwell could easily return at any time, and she's clearly willing to do so.
4) Another Marvel One-Shot
Finally, we have the possibility of more Marvel one-shots. Never one to hold back a secret, Tom Holland recently revealed that Marvel Studios is discussing making more of these fan-favorites. Assuming S.H.I.E.L.D. plays a role in films like Captain Marvel, we have the strong possibility we'll get more one-shots exploring Peggy Carter's perspective. Just as the Marvel Comics tie-ins around Iron Man shed light on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s background role in the story, so these one-shots could quietly embed Peggy Carter in the background of the movies.
Let's be clear; it's entirely possible that Hayley Atwell was simply in the area, and decided to drop by and visit an old friend. That said, the fact this came straight after she expressed a desire to return to the #MCU is sure to leave fans excited. It's true we're not expecting a revival of the much-missed Agent Carter TV series, and the odds of a movie are pretty remote. Still, it looks very possible that Hayley Atwell will still find her way back into the MCU. We'll have to wait and see...