ABC hasn’t annoucned whether it’s renewing “Marvel’s Agent Carter” for Season 2, but the showrunners behind the series are already concocting what comes next for Peggy Carter.
Following the Season 1 finale of “Agent Carter” Zap2it spoke with executive producer Tara Butters, who helms the show alongside her creative partner Michele Fazekas. She shares what she expects will come next now that Peggy has let go of Captain America, whether audiences will ever meet Jarvis’ wife Anna and if that HYDRA footnote was more than just a tease.
Zap2it: What do you think your biggest success from Season 1 was?
Tara Butters: I’m very proud of the overall arc we told. I feel like we were able to explore Peggy’s character and really see a forward progression, from where she starts in the pilot as someone who is still having difficulty finding her place in the world and to where she ended in [the finale] “Valediction.” I feel like you can see the character growth over the eight episodes.
What were your biggest goals with Peggy, a pre-existing Marvel Cinematic Universe character, when you had an opportunity to write to her?
Because we had a unique opportunity to write a female action hero, I think that it’s important that you don’t write her just as you would write a man. We wanted her to always still be a woman, which means that she is different. It means that her fighting style is more street fighter in the sense that she’ll use anything, whether it’s something from the kitchen or in the automat, she’s swinging whatever she can find to take these guys down; she uses the fact that they underestimate her against them. I just feel like it’s that kind of ingenuity that makes her unique because she uses her being a woman as an asset.
Can you share the status of Season 2?
You know, the fact of the matter is ABC is kind of notoriously late in their pickups. We’ll sweat it out probably for the next at least month, if not a little bit longer, till they decide what they’re going to do. I wish it wasn’t the case, because the fact of the matter is any time you’re building these large, serialized arcs, the more time you have in the beginning makes it so much better in the end because we can really plan things out.
Would you want to see a change in the episode order, or did eight episodes feel right to you?
I think this is a show that lives in the short order. I don’t think it’s a 22-episode show. I would love to see around 13 episodes. That would be my ideal because I feel like we could absolutely have done more episodes. The storytelling is there.
It seems like the Captain America chapter of Peggy’s life has closed. Where would you want to see the show take Peggy’s story in Season 2?
Captain America will always be a part of her life. It was very important for her as a character to move on and be that strong woman who doesn’t let that relationship define her. It’s really interesting in moving forward, hopefully into a second season, in seeing how she does that — how does she balance, and seeing more of a balance between work and a personal life. I think that the Peggy that was in the “The First Avenger” and the Peggy that we saw in the first season allowed her career to be all-consuming and define her. I do think it will be fun to explore how does she become a little bit more well-rounded.
Were you surprised that so many people were quick to ask the “who’s going to be Peggy’s husband” question since she was heralded as such a great feminist hero?
It is really perplexing, I’ll be honest with you. I mean, who doesn’t love a good romance? There’s a lot of people who basically their enjoyment comes out of the relationships, and I agree with that. But for me, I had just as much love — I’ll use an example. Michele and I used to work on “The X-Files”; we were only assistants, we were never writers there. But my favorite years of that show were when Mulder and Scully were not romantically involved, but you absolutely believed they cared for each other. I felt like it was a really interesting, dynamic relationship, because we all have people in our lives that we care about but we may not be romantically linked to.
So her relationship with Jarvis, I get a lot of tweets and response from fans like, “Does Mrs. Jarvis have to really exist?” And it’s like, isn’t that more real? Don’t we have people in our lives that we’re close to or even feel very connected to that are in other relationships? It is funny because there is this demand for who she’s going to be with, and I feel like that is something that we would like to work throughout the show for hopefully many seasons, and bring many people into her life. But at the same time, just like I don’t want her work to define her ultimately, I don’t want her personal life to define her.
Do you have an intent to one day introduce who her husband will be, or is that not necessarily a major concern?
I think if we had multiple seasons, absolutely. I don’t want to get locked into it in Season 2 necessarily either. I think you want to understand her world. I think you want her to have some different characters — is it Souza? Is it someone else? — to talk about different options. I think you want to see her struggle with these things like a normal person.
Were you expecting how much people wanted to meet Anna Jarvis, and do you have a plan to fulfill that if you do get Season 2?
That has always been a funny thing. We’ve discussed it with [Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeeley about whether or not you ever meet her, do we stunt cast that role — all sorts of answers. There was even some talk at one point of if they ever did another One Shot would you see what they talk about in [“Agent Carter” episode 3] of her rescue. I think that we definitely want to explore that character more because it will also help us learn more about Jarvis. He has definitely become a fan favorite.
At the end of this season we see Toby Jones’ Zola as a hint at what’s to come with HYDRA and the Winter Soldier project. Is that just a tease, or is that something you plan to explore more in Season 2?
All of that stemmed out of an early conversation we had with Marvel Studios where we pitched out the season, and we obviously used Dr. Fenhoff, who is a villain from the Captain America universe. They were like, “Oh, his hypnosis could lay the groundwork for the mind control for Winter Soldier.” It was like, “Oh, well, that would be great. Wouldn’t it be great if we had him meet up with Zola?” It was sort of one of those things where you kind of say, “That would be really cool.” And then you go, “Well could we really do that?”
What I love about it is it really does place us into the history of the MCU in a really interesting way that continues to play out because of the “Captain America” movies. It gave a value to the series that I really love. Moving forward, absolutely there is that opportunity to explore that more, but at the same time I don’t know that I would want it to be the thrust of the season either. We should be open to exploring another villain, another situation and it would be nice to touch on it here or there.