MCU Producer Explains Why Hayley Atwell's Carter Will Return In Future Seasons of What If...?

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Peggy Carter Hayley Atwell What If Disney Plus

Marvel Studios is less than two weeks from the release of its first fully animated series What If...?  on Disney+.

Although there are a few MCU stars like Scarlett Johansson and Tom Holland that won't be reprising their roles, more than 50 of Marvel's top names have come together in the voiceover booth to give this project life. While many of the voices will be familiar to fans, the show will also take some exciting risks by using moments never before realized in the MCU's Infinity Saga.

What If...? also has the distinct honor of being the first MCU Disney+ show to have serious talks for a second season, although there are still no signs pointing to the exact storyline that will be told in Season 1. Thankfully, even with ten confirmed episodes in 2021 and more on the way, Marvel has its pick of the litter in terms of heroes to use as the core focus of the show.

In Marvel's latest round of promotion for its fourth Disney+ outing, one of those heroes has just been confirmed for a long animated journey.


Agent Carter Disney Plus

During the virtual press conference for Marvel Studios' What If...?, as transcribed by the Illuminerdi, executive producer Brad Winderbaum explained how the team found a unique level of importance to the story with Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter.

Looking back at "the arc of the series," Winderbaum noted how the team realized there was going to be one hero in Peggy Carter "that bubbled up and became more important" through the story. This new version of the top SHIELD agent is said to have "a strong relationship with The Watcher" and will serve as a "driving force" throughout the plot:

“We realized, I think, early on in development as we were starting to get [head writer AC Bradley's] scripts and starting to look at the arc of the series that there was going to be a character that bubbled up and became more important. Not more important than the rest, but had a strong relationship with The Watcher, who is really our driving force behind the series, and that’s Captain Carter."

Looking ahead to Season 2, Winderbaum and the team realized that Captain Carter would be "the character who [they] would revisit in every season" as the adventure moved forward. With a "multiversal canvas" for the story to use, even though it's described as "an anthology," Carter will help open the door for "fun connections to be made:"

"And we realized as we started developing the second season that Captain Carter was going to be the character who we would revisit in every season and continue that adventure. Obviously, we’re telling a story on a giant multiversal canvas so you never really know who’s going to pop up where and when. It’s very much an anthology, but there’s always opportunity for fun connections to be made”


Peggy Carter has been at the center of promotion for What If...? ever since it was first introduced at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 as the character takes an unexpected journey. Known as a key player at the SSR before working her way up the ranks in SHIELD, Peggy will take Steve Rogers' place in the Super Soldier program due to a devastating injury this time around.

While Steve Rogers' place as a leader of the Avengers was always known in the Infinity Saga, it seems clear that Peggy will be taking on this duty in What If...? as a key player in Phase 4 after Season 1 ends.

Peggy has seen the spotlight in both of the first two full trailers, and her transformation into Captain Carter is confirmed to happen in Episode 1. It only seems right that one of the original power players in SHIELD's history through the MCU will take on a similar leadership role as a superhero in her own right.

While Hayley Atwell's new hero has been seen taking on everything from German soldiers to Shuma Gorath in the trailers, her specific character arc is still largely a mystery. However, it seems almost definitive that all of it won't be told over the coming weeks with her status as a future series regular now confirmed.

No matter what the specifics turn out to be for Captain Carter's story, her first series of animated storytelling will be far from her last.

What If...? will premiere on Disney+ on August 11, 2021.

- In This Article: What If...? (Season 2)
Release Date
December 22, 2023
Jeffrey Wright
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.