‘Agent Carter’ explored Captain America’s MCU legacy first

When Sam Wilson sees old Steve Rogers at the end of Avengers: Endgame, he mourns the loss of a world protected by Captain America. Steve had an massive influence on the generation of superheroes that arose around the time he was defrosted in 2011, and the space left behind by his absence is large enough to merit a miniseries following the post-Cap lives of his closest friends —The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, now streaming on Disney+.

Steve’s temporal displacement wasn’t the first time the world was abruptly left without a Captain America, though. He also disappeared into the ice in 1945, after two short years of being a super-soldier. Losing Steve also impacted his closest friends back then, and they too got a TV show that explored how they moved on in the world without Captain America. That show was Agent Carter, and it was delightful. 

Agent Carter followed the all-around badass SSR Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), first introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger as Steve’s friend and love interest. In the first season, Peggy worked to clear Howard Stark’s (Dominic Cooper) name after he was framed for treason and partnered up with Edmund Jarvis (James D’Arcy) to do so. Peggy has her own story and her own problems, but the specter of Steve Rogers hangs over her, Howard, and the MCU of the 1940s as a whole. 

In Agent Carter, Captain America is a wartime symbol whose adventures have become a part of pop culture complete with radio dramas and merchandise. Peggy struggles to honor Steve while reconciling the man she knew with the all-American martyr who barely resembles him, and her struggle comes to a head when she (minor spoiler) comes into possession of Captain America’s legal remains. 

Peggy’s adventures, which included outsmarting her sexist colleagues at the SSA, solving mysteries, and apartment hunting, were the first time any MCU-adjacent project centered a female character from the Marvel films. Agent Carter only lasted two seasons, but the show’s dedication to doing Peggy justice as a protagonist makes it one of the franchise’s hidden gems.

Of course, with Steve’s choice to live in the past, it’s impossible to know if the events of Agent Carter even happened in the “main” timeline of the MCU. Knowing Peggy, she still would have worked for the SSR, so maybe the alternate universe version of the show wouldn’t be all that different. Just watch Peggy remaining the protagonist in her adventures and assume she goes home to a hot meal cooked by her husband Steve after the credits roll. 

Agent Carter is available to stream on Disney+.

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