In advance of their fourth episode, airing Tuesday January 27th on ABC, the cast and crew of Marvel’s Agent Carter were on hand at the TCA winter press tour last night to talk about Marvel’s latest venture onto the small screen, offer some insight into the characters, and tease a bit of what’s to come. Agent Carter follows Captain America: The First Avenger‘s Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) after the end of World War II, when the boys have come home and she finds herself serving more as a secretary than a secret agent. When Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) is framed as a traitor he enlists the help of Agent Carter to help clear his name.
For the Agent Carter panel most of the cast, including Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Enver Gjokaj, and Lyndsy Fonseca joined executive producers Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Chris Dingess, Louis D’Esposito, and Jeph Loeb on stage. They talked about how Jarvis became a part of the series, the “true feminism” of the series, upcoming Easter eggs, and more. Check out what we learned after the jump.
The writers included Jarvis in the series because Peggy needed a confidant. Executive producer Stephen McFeely explained, ” Jarvis was an easy confidant character because when we decided that the one-shot was going to be the inspiration for the show, the idea that she had to keep secrets from the people she was, you know, in the secret organization with meant that, unless you gave her a confidant, this was going to be a quick and boring show because everything was going to be a thought bubble.” He continued, “Jarvis was an excellent candidate, particularly when we decided that Howard Stark, if we could get Dominic, you know, was going to be a major character. And that way, we can do a lot of fun stuff with Howard Stark’s tech and secrets, and he can be our man Friday.”
James D’arcy was nervous about taking on the comedic side of Jarvis. D’arcy explained that he “was very afraid of how I could portray this character of Jarvis and do something new. I didn’t want to play a character that you saw and in the first three seconds went, ‘Got that guy. I know that guy. Right.’ And also, I saw that it was written funny. I’ve never done anything funny before, and I wasn’t at all convinced that that was something that I would be the right man for that job…I have predominantly played psychopaths, quite often.”
Peggy’s friend Angie and the ladies of the Griffith Hotel provide a way to populate Peggy’s male-dominated world with more female characters. McFeely said, “The idea of modeling something on the Barbizon Hotel, our Griffith Hotel, gave us a way to have hopefully a lot of women characters.” He expanded on the subject, “We were troublingly dominated by men given that she was the only woman working in the SSR, so we wanted the Angie character to be someone who didn’t need taken care of.”
On the highly speculated subject of Angie might secretly be an agent of HYDRA, they were obviously playing their cards close to the vest. Executive Producer Michelle Fazekas effectively dodged the question when asked if Fonseca would get to put her Nikita skills to use. Later Fonseca did some dodging of her own saying, “Angie gets into actions of sorts, but very different than my physicality on Nikita, which is why this show is so fun for me because I’ve played a super spy for four years, and I can finally watch Hayley kick butt and be her support and be the wisecracking friend. I feel like it’s such a great change and such a great opportunity to do something different and stretch and learn and keeping me on my toes.”
Atwell and Fonseca were quick to point out the “true feminism” of Agent Carter. Atwell pointed out that Peggy doesn’t just fight men, she supports women. Speaking about Peggy and Angie’s friendship she said, “It’s so refreshing to see two women on screen supporting each other and who genuinely are friends, and they’re not competing. There isn’t that tension. And I don’t really know much television that really shows that support between women. So it’s not just that Agent Carter is going out and kind of fighting against the men. She’s supporting the women around her. She doesn’t dislike women. She doesn’t dislike men.”
Because the series is set in 1946, the writers took special care to depict the effects of World War II on all the characters and populated the series based on that idea. Creator and Executive Producer Christopher Markus explained, “One of the things we wanted about this show, just a general operating principle was [that] as it was going to be in ‘46, we wanted to see the effects of the war across the show on each person. And we, in a way, populated the SSR office based on that. So you have a guy who was wounded. You have a hero. You have a guy whose life may or may not have been kind of screwed up while he was away. And that kind of set out the templates of the kinds of characters we were looking for.”
Starting with the next episode, Agent Carter becomes a whole new show. According to D’arcy, “[they’ve] already killed the show, because the show was theoretically about they’re going to find Howard’s ‘bad babies’. So we thought you can look like you’re going to find one a week, and we found them all last night. So now what’s the show? Because we have five episodes to go. So the show turns into something that now is really the beginning of what the show is, and it’s going to take us and you, hopefully, in really exciting directions.”
Tune in and keep your eyes open for lots of Marvel Easter eggs. Chad Michael Murray said, “There are so many fantastic Easter eggs that if you’re a fan of anything in the Marvel world, you’re going to want to stay tuned because every time we open the script and every time we get done, we’ve become fans.” He continued, “I’m not going to give anything away, but it’s you don’t want to miss it. You definitely don’t want to miss it.”