Marvel’s ‘What If…?’ Disney+ Series: Hayley Atwell Is Captain Carter And More

You’ve heard of Steve Rogers’ Captain America, of course, the character popularized by Chris Evans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But you’ve yet to meet Captain Carter — that is, Peggy Carter in a British version of the Captain America suit, in an alternate Marvel world. That’s right, there’s more of Hayley Atwell’s character on the way, though not in the form you might expect. Here’s what we know.

Hayley Atwell played Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger

Atwell wasn’t very well known when she was cast as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger. The character is a British leader in the military who meets a skinny yet eager Steve Rogers when he joins. She believes in him even before he becomes Captain America, and the two grow close throughout the film before he goes down with his plane at the very end.

Peggy and Steve remain star-crossed lovers throughout their tenure in the MCU. Atwell reprised the role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (as an elderly woman), Avengers: Age of Ultron (as part of a dream), and Ant-Man (in a scene that takes place in the ‘80s) before bringing the arc to a close in the final moments of Avengers: Endgame, when she and Steve get their happily ever after.

The character got her own series on ABC, Agent Carter

If you’ve only seen the films, you’re missing out on most of the character development of Atwell’s character. She portrayed Peggy Carter in a serialized format in the short-lived ABC series Agent Carter, which was a big hit with audiences and critics alike.

The series takes place in the 1940s, as she continues to work for the U.S. government, as well as Tony Stark’s father, Howard Stark. Also featured was James D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis, Stark’s butler, who is the inspiration for the JARVIS A.I. as seen in the Avengers films. D’Arcy also appeared in Endgame in a scene that took place in the 1970s, making him the first character established in a Marvel TV series to cross into the MCU.

Now, she’s returning for the Disney+ series What If…?

Hayley Atwell
Hayley Atwell of ‘What If…?’ took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Speaking of Jarvis, the MCU and the Marvel TV world have always been kept separate from one another for the most part. However, that’s changing with Disney+, which will be the home of several new series that will continue the adventures of favorite characters like Loki and Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

In addition to live-action shows, there will be an animated series, titled What If…? This will be based on a comic book series of the same name, and its where we’ll see Captain Carter. There to discuss the project at D23 Expo 2019 was Atwell, who called the MCU “the gift that keeps on giving,” adding, “But that’s partly because of the fans. They love Peggy, they’ve brought her back.” 

What else can we expect from What If…?

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige describes the series as one in which “they take a storyline that you know and change one element, and see how things can get different.” He’s referring to the stories that we’ve seen on the big screen specifically, and he notes that “almost the entire cast of the MCU will be lending their voices” to the show.

The brief trailer shows quite a few exciting elements, especially as far as Captain America characters are concerned. In addition to Captain Carter, the moment that got the biggest reaction from the audience depicted Bucky wielding Cap’s shield, only it’s against Steve Rogers himself, who is a zombie. 

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