Marvel seem determined to hit us right where it hurts. Only a week after Peggy Carter's death in Civil War, we experienced another Peggy-related loss when it was revealed that the critically acclaimed TV show Agent Carter had been cancelled. The series never had stellar ratings, despite a compelling story and the continuing awesomeness of Peggy herself. Much-loved as a character, the show allowed Peggy to really develop, as she rose to every challenge she encountered, from Russian assassins to institutional misogyny.
But if you’re not broken up enough by the double whammy of Peggy’s canon death and her show’s cancellation, there’s a heartbreaking fan theory which is guaranteed to make you feel even worse.
Grab those tissues, because GameGodMike on Reddit just made this whole thing about a million times more heartbreaking.
What if the first two seasons of Agent Peggy Carter were actually a retelling of her past by a current day Peggy to her niece Sharon Carter a.k.a. Agent 13. The reason Season 2 ends on a cliff hanger and we never see Peggy and Howard start Shield officially is because Peggy died before she could finish telling it. As seen in 'The Winter Soldier', Peggy appeared to be suffering from Alzheimer's, but was able to have a conversation with Steve, so it's not beyond the realm of possibilities that she was able to tell her story to someone piece by piece until her death.
Ok, that hurt. The best/worst thing about this theory is that it lines up chronologically with the release of Civil War and Agent Carter’s cancellation in our world, explaining why the story stopped short.
Not only is it heartwarming to imagine Peggy telling the tale to her niece, in the style of A Princess Bride, this could also account for some of the inconsistencies within the story, as pointed out by commenter ZeroCorpse.
This could also explain why the series and the Marvel One-Shot don't line up exactly. Peggy had details a little off because the Alzheimer's was making her memory for dates and times spotty.
The Agent Carter one-shot was a short film released in 2013, focusing on Peggy’s final mission for the SSR before she left to run S.H.I.E.L.D.
The main incontinuity between this film and the show is that after Peggy seemed to progress in leaps and bounds as far as earning respect was concerned, the one-shot places her right back at the bottom of the heap in the SSR, constantly fighting for her coworkers to recognize her value. As sad as it is though, this might not be as big an inconsistency as it might appear — it’s entirely probable that Peggy would rise within the ranks of the SSR only to be bumped back down when she faced yet more of that fun institutional misogyny.
It would have been really interesting to see the show connect the dots between the one-shot and the series, explaining Peggy’s move back to New York and how she and Howard founded S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Carter was at its best in Season 1 when it fed back into the MCU — one of the best episodes is “The Iron Ceiling”, when Peggy and her SSR colleagues team up with the Howling Commandos.
And of course, there’s plenty of interesting set-up still to be done in regards to Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. right from when it was founded, which was of course a key plot point in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Oh, and then there’s that apparent plot hole in Civil War, when it was revealed that Howard Stark had been developing the super soldier serum, later stolen by a brainwashed Bucky Barnes. Why would Howard help recreate the serum after his arc in Agent Carter Season 1 revolved around putting that behind him? I guess now we’ll never know.
Of course, the wish list for questions we wanted Agent Carter to answer is endless, but even though the show has been cancelled we can revel in the fact that Peggy is one of the MCU’s best developed characters, going from solo movie love interest to a major player in the history of this fictional world. And although our glimpse at her life was brief, we can rest assured that she made a great success of it. We know your value, Peggy, and you will be missed.
What's your favorite Peggy Carter moment?