Hayley Atwell on Captain America’s Legacy in ‘Agent Carter’

By January 3, 2015

Marvel Studios’ latest ABC TV series, “Agent Carter,” arrives on ABC this coming Tuesday night. The character, which Atwell has portrayed in both Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as the Agent Carter “One-Shot” short film and an episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” will be picking up her life in the new series roughly one year after the end of The First Avenger. There, Stve Rogers went down into the ice of the north, and would remain frozen for roughly 70 years before being revived by S.H.I.E.L.D. just before the events of the first Avengers film.

Atwell recently spoke with IGN about her character’s continuing importance and prominence in the Marvel Universe, as well as her unique situation as an actress since we’ve seen her both in her prime, as well as her state at the very end of her life. When it comes to the ongoing legacy and impression that Steve Rogers himself casts over Agent Carter and the show at-large, Atwell was more than willing to offer up Peggy’s admiration for her one-time partner.

It’s only been a year and she’s grieving him and I think what keeps her going is he was the greatest person she ever knew – even before he took the serum and became Captain America. She knew his character and she saw a kindred spirit in him. So I think she’s grieving the loss of him but she’s also determined to make sure that his work wasn’t in vain. That gives her a tremendous amount of determination to carry on despite the obstacles that she comes across. You see the personal struggles and the sacrifices that she had to make and you see her grief and that’s wonderful because you see the vulnerable side of Peggy.

One aspect of the show’s first season is that it will run at a pretty tight eight episodes. While some might reach the conclusion that there’s simply not enough material there, Atwell has the opposite impression. Being short, she feels, lets them cut right to the meat of the story they should be telling.

It’s fast moving and fast paced but luckily because it’s not stretched out of 22 episodes, nothing is diluted. Every line is vital to not only moving the story and the action alone but also developing the characters. So you get to know these characters incredibly quickly. You get to know who you should be trusting, who you shouldn’t be, and then it takes you on this adventure with a lot of surprises and twists and turns which are a surprise to Peggy and they’ll also be a surprise to the audience.

Atwell is also asked about her character appearing in more and more Marvel Studios material, with an upcoming appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, a rumored appearance in Ant-Man, as well as her appearance in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and now her own series. Some actors or actresses might get bored with playing the same character over and over again, but Atwell instead sees the notion as a surprisingly diverse one.

[…]The main thing for me, as an actor, is that I want variety. With a character like Peggy, because we know how long she lives and we know the worlds that she inhabits. It means there’s plenty of variety for me to explore different aspects of her character. She’s not just an action hero. She’s three-dimensional. She has losses and dreams and hopes and desires and fears and flaws in her character and frustrations and all of those things, which make up for me, kind of a dream role really.

“Agent Carter” premieres this coming Tuesday, January 6th, at 8pm EST/PST on ABC.

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.