While Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness continued Spider-Man: No Way Home's trend of Multiversal cameos, launching a number of theories about the future of Reed Richards and the X-Men in the MCU, the presence of Captain Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, was different but just as pivotal since she's a character that already existed within the MCU.
A mere nine months after she was introduced to audiences in Marvel Studios' animated series What If...?, Atwell's Captain Carter wields the shield - and a jetpack - against the Scarlet Witch during the brief and ultimately violent Illuminati sequence from Doctor Strange 2.
Like the other members of the Illuminati, Captain Carter didn't survive Wanda's rampage; but of them all, she - or a Variant of herself - has the most potential to continue in the MCU. The question, of course, is if and when.
Hayley Atwell Addresses Captain Carter's MCU Future
At 2022 Awesome Con, shared via The Cosmic Circus, Hayley Atwell responded to whether she would return as either Agent Carter or Captain Carter, saying, "I would love to if Marvel did find a home for her:"
"Well...I haven't got news for you. But I share your enthusiasm. And I would love to if Marvel did find a home for her; that's a home that feels worthy of her in terms of her evolution as a character and development as a character:
Even though Captain Carter has only been part of the MCU since August of 2021, Atwell has enjoyed a lengthy, although sporadic, tenure within the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Peggy Carter, who she has portrayed at different ages and in different mediums.
After first playing Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers' love interest, in Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011, her credits have included 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Agents of SHIELD television series, 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, her own Agent Carter solo series, and 2019's Avengers: Endgame.
It was then in 2021 that she provided the voice for a Variant of Peggy Carter who ends up taking the Super Soldier serum instead of Steve, becoming Captain Carter in What If...? She then portrayed the character in live-action for the first time in Doctor Strange 2.
The actress went on to acknowledge what the role has done for her personally; and while she's aware that her character has been "a minor player," her sense of worth has a lot to say,
"The experience I’ve had in playing her has given me the most incredible opportunity to hone my particular craft in this franchise. And I’ve got more to do, and because I feel the fans deserve that. In some ways, with a lot of people, she’s a minor player, and it wouldn’t make sense if I was to continue to be a minor player in that if it felt like, well, this is a different time. And also particularly as a woman with everything that’s happened the last few years. When she says in her timeline, 'I know my value and everyone else’s opinion; it doesn’t matter,' that’s really good."
Atwell continued on, saying that she wants "everyone to realize her [Captain Carter] value," but yet the character herself "doesn't need validation:"
"But I want everyone to realize her value. In the same way, essentially her own self-esteem and sense of dignity comes from that sense of she knows her worth, she gets on with the job, and she just works for the sake of work with dignity and she knows it. She doesn’t need validation."
Finally, the actress expressed that she would like for her character to have "agency" and "that platform" in order to have "something much more interesting to offer you guys:"
"But there is one thing that she deserves, which is agency in the world, and that can’t come until certain people in positions of power, namely the men, cede her power and offer her that platform. And so, I’d like her to have that opportunity because then I feel like I have something much more interesting to offer you guys.”
Why Captain Carter's Story is Far From Over
Even though Wanda seemingly killed Captain Carter in Doctor Strange 2, it's possible that this version of Atwell's new heroine isn't the same as who audiences know from What If...?
After all, Professor X from Multiverse of Madness isn't the same as the same Charles Xavier from Logan, and Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four haven't even made their MCU debut just yet. Why then should audiences think that this Captain Carter is the same as the animated series?
Also, while What If...?'s episodes focused on a number of Marvel heroes, the series set up a storyline for Captain Carter that has yet to be fully realized and is expected to continue in Season 2.
Therefore, it seems safe to say that Captain Carter has a future, but Atwell's words about what she would like to see from her is worth paying attention to. While there's no doubt that Captain Carter is a fully developed hero, Atwell feels that she hasn't received her due and that her story isn't over.
Since Captain America's arc was so carefully handled and he was given his happy ending, it's hard to believe that Marvel Studios would fail to do the same with Captain Carter.
Due to the MCU's focus on the Multiverse and Season 2 of What If...?, no doubt Hayley Atwell will have a few more credits to add to her filmography as Marvel Studios' Phase 4 marches on.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to premiere on Disney+ on June 22.