Marvel Studios Just Introduced a New Universe That's More Feminist

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Hayley Atwell as Captain Carter, Marvel Studios logo

It turns out that Captain Carter changed a specific universe from What If…? Season 2 for the better in multiple ways, including bringing feminism to the forefront.

In Marvel’s animated series What If…?, there exists a multiversal Variant of Peggy Carter (voiced by Hayley Atwell, reprising her live-action role) who received the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers.

This version of Peggy went on to become the superhero known as Captain Carter and helped turn the tide for the Allies in World War II before being flung into the 21st Century.

The Wasp at The Avengers’ Battle of New York?

Hawkeye, Thor, Captain Carter, Iron Man, the Wasp, and Black Widow at an alternate universe Battle of New York
Marvel Studios

In Episode 6 of Season 2 of What If…?, a universe is shown where Captain Peggy Carter is leading the Avengers during the Battle of New York. And among the superheroes fighting the Chitauri is none other than Hope van Dyne aka, The Wasp, who was not present at this particular event on Earth-616 (as seen in 2012’s The Avengers.)

There’s actually a very specific and narratively interesting reason for Hope’s inclusion in this battle. Because Peggy Carter helped win the Second World War decades earlier, the feminist movement happened much earlier in her universe.

What If…? producer A.C. Bradley took to X to explain these changes in the 1940s that had “a ripple effect across society:”

“Since a few people have asked: Yes, that’s Hope at the Battle of NY. How did that happen?

Since Captain Carter — a woman — ended WW2, the feminist movement occurred immediately after the war. This had a ripple effect across society leading to more female SHIELD agents, heroes, & women in positions of authority. (Check out the Strike Team at min 12)”

Bucky Barnes, Captain Carter, and Dum Dum Dugan in What If…?
Marvel Studios

Additionally, in this universe, Dr. Hank Pym and his wife Janet van Dyne along with Tony’s father Howard Stark took the reins of SHIELD. This was not explained in the episode, but A.C. Bradley provided the context in another X post:

“Since Peggy Carter wasn’t around to found SHIELD, that responsibility fell to Hope’s parents, Hank and Janet, and also Bucky, and his good friend, Howard Stark. All this lead to Hope taking on the Wasp mantle earlier.”

The MCU‘s Amazing Female Heroes

It’s definitely cool for Marvel to show a universe where feminism is paramount and the opinions and thoughts of women are held in high regard.

That’s not to say that in the main MCU, women aren’t heard, or that they don’t get to do everything that men can - quite the contrary. 

There are tons of badass heroes in the MCU that happen to be women. Natasha Romanoff (gone but not forgotten) was Marvel Studios’ first on-screen female superhero and her legacy is still very much felt.

Carol Danvers, Kate Bishop, Thena, Yelena Belova, and Monica Rambeau are just a few examples of the girl power that the MCU has to offer, with hopefully many more on the way. The Fantastic Four’s Sue Storm will arrive sooner rather than later, and if she’s anything like her comic counterpart, she’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Peggy Carter, though, remains a shining example of a great female character in comic book movies. She knows her worth and doesn’t let anyone tell her what she can and cannot do. This is true for all the Variants of her that fans have seen.

Marvel Studios’ What If…? Season 2 is now streaming in its entirety exclusively on Disney+.

- In This Article: What If...? (Season 2)
Release Date
December 22, 2023
Jeffrey Wright
- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.