We lost two members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe family today; one while it was young, and one before it ever came to be.
Agent Carter started it’s life out as a Marvel One-Shot, spinning off from Captain America: The First Avenger. This got adapted into an eight episode mini-series following Peggy stopping a Russian organization known as Leviathan while working behind the backs of her sexist co-workers and mourning Steve Rogers’ death, but even that wasn’t enough: fans wanted more of Jarvis, Howard, Sousa, Thompson, Dottie and of course, Peggy. Despite a second season looking unlikely, it got ordered for another season of ten episodes, which saw Peggy and Jarvis head to L.A., where they worked to solve the mysteries behind a mysterious interdimensional property known as Zero Matter. Fan reaction was strong, but ratings were not; it was not renewed for a third season.
Most Wanted was the Marvel show that never came to be. The second half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two served as a backdoor pilot for the series, which was to focus on two popular new characters pulled straight from the comics: the bad-ass Bobbi Morse and the hilarious Lance Hunter. It was shelved, but not for good: After the success of the first half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season three, they were given another chance and an pilot order. In the tear-jerking 13th episode, Bobbi and Hunter left S.H.I.E.L.D. for good, as they willingly took the fall for murdering Russian government officials who were trying to assassinate the prime minister. The pilot was filmed with comic characters Dominic Fortune and a mysterious villain who some speculated to be Swordsman (but will we ever know?), which saw Bobbi and Hunter ducking among bounty hunters and soldiers of fortune as they tried to evade the Russian government. Despite a strong initial reaction from the network, it was ultimately passed on.
I think it’s safe to say that, after Captain America: Civil War, Hayley Atwell’s brilliant portrayal of Peggy Carter has come to a close – or has it? The showrunners behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has stated that they are willing to pick up the cliffhangers left behind by Agent Carter. Will season four explore what the Arena Club pin key really means? Will we find out who murdered Jack Thompson, and why? Did Peggy end up marrying Daniel Sousa after all? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has featured Peggy Carter in flashbacks before, and a season with parallel storylines where they uncover mysteries in present day as Peggy uncovers them in the past could be a unique and original direction for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a break from the Inhumans and HYDRA storyline to start something new.
Bobbi and Hunter are not allowed back in S.H.I.E.L.D. – that is, unless S.H.I.E.L.D. is legitimized. Could the organization finally see the light of day? Will the disavowed agents be allowed back? Or maybe we will see Bobbi and Hunter in another capacity – after the arc featuring Bobbi’s gruesome torture in season two, they wouldn’t feel totally out of place in one of the darker Netflix series. Could they appear in Punisher? Jessica Jones? The Defenders? I hope we see the Most Wanted pilot as a DVD feature on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s third season – and I hope the characters introduced, such as Dominic Fortune and Christina Santos, can still appear in other properties. Just because it wasn’t picked up, doesn’t mean it’s not part of the MCU!