Peggy Carter as Captain Britain in First Image from Marvel’s…
At D23, Kevin Feige talked more about the upcoming Marvel projects for the Disney+ streaming service. While they released key art posters for most of the series, images of Peggy Carter as Captain Britain surfaced online. Hayley Atwell will reprise her role as Peggy Carter for the animated series, proving this is a way for Marvel Studios to keep beloved actors in the fold. Along with appearances in many of the Captain America and Avengers movies, Carter led her own Marvel Television series and guest-starred on Agents of SHIELD. What If…? will adapt a popular concept from the comics for television: alternate reality stories in which familiar characters are depicted in new ways. In this scenario, Dr. Erskine gives his super-soldier treatment to Carter, making her Captain Britain.
PEGGY CARTER AS CAPTAIN BRITAIN STANS RISE pic.twitter.com/BfYvwId9lj
— josie⁷ (@chrisp1ne) August 23, 2019
Steve Rogers appears, though not voiced by Chris Evans or they would shout that detail from the virtual rooftops. Without his super-soldier transformation, he wears a version of Iron Man armor developed by Howard Stark. Clips also revealed a foray into the Marvel Zombies universe, because a zombified Cap fought a still-human Bucky Barnes. In the comic series of the same name, an alien character called “The Watcher” gives the audience glimpses into alternate worlds. We’ll see different takes on Black Panther, Ant-Man, Thor, and even Thanos.
— Mollie Damon (@MollieDamon) August 23, 2019
What If…? Helps Keep Retired Actors In The Fold
Image via Screengrab
Along with the images of Peggy Carter as Captain Britain, Hayley Atwell appeared at D23 in the flesh. She thanked fans for their zeal for her character, crediting their devotion to Peggy as the reason she’s back. Yet, this show will ultimately be a way for Marvel Studios to allow their favorite actors and characters to appear in new stories, without worrying about the overall narrative. As it’s animation, there is less of a physical toll and demand on their time. So, it’s no surprise that many of the film stars are returning to reprise their roles. Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, nearly the entire cast of Ragnarok, and even Natalie Portman are all slated to appear in the series.
Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan both lend their voices to a future Black Panther-focused episode. Which is good news, since we won’t be getting any more Black Panther until May of 2022. Paul Rudd may think Ant-Man needs a fan campaign to get a third film, but he and Michael Douglas both will reprise their roles for a What If…? episode. Appearance by folks like Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, and Jeremy Renner are less surprising, as they currently have live-action shows slated for the platform. Finally, Jeffrey Wright of Westworld fame will voice Uatu, the Watcher who documents all these alternate reality stories.
Peggy Carter as Captain Britain Is Just the Beginning
Image via screengrab
One could argue that Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter deserved more than she got in the MCU. And this is a woman who was a hero in her own right, a founding member of SHIELD, and the first person smart enough to see the potential in Earth’s greatest hero. (Don’t @ me.) Seeing a version of the story where she becomes the super-soldier is an exciting possibility. What If…? allows it to happen without angry fans shrieking into the social media void about Cap erasure. What If…? allows the storytellers at Marvel to take these characters, tweak the lore, and tell a riveting and worthy story. Because it’s animation, it means that we’ll get more stories faster. Part of the reason Black Panther has to wait until 2022 is because the MCU slate is more crowded than the poster for Infinity War.
What makes comic book stories great is that these archetypal characters are interesting outside of their original narrative. Would The Godfather be as riveting if the same characters ran a bed and breakfast in rural New Hampshire? (Okay, bad example.) What If…? allows storytellers and audiences to take these archetypes in different directions to tell the same sort of exciting and hopeful stories that dominated the box office over some 60-plus Marvel films. What keeps characters like Captain America, Spider-Man, and Batman in film and comics for decade is this sort of versatility. These characters are so well-known now, that they beg to be reinvented. What If…? gives us a chance to get a small taste of that.
What do you think of Peggy Carter as Captain Britain? If you could pick a What If…? story, which character would you reimagine? Tell us in the comments below or by sharing the article on social media.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.