Last week, after months of dragging their feet, Marvel finally gave the general public the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War—the same one shown to those lucky enough to be in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con back in July, but with more polished graphics. Viewers were pleased to see just about all of their favorite characters front and center, from the Phase 1 team to Scarlet Witch and Vision to the Guardians of the Galaxy. But while the trailer talks about the Avengers Initiative being “an idea to bring to together a group of remarkable people,” there is one remarkable person that has been missing too long from this roster: Peggy Carter.
But Peggy is dead!, you might say. She had a funeral and everything. Steve Rogers was one of her pallbearers. It was front page news!
To which my response is, she’s not Uncle Ben so death doesn’t matter. I will die on the Peggy Carter Must Live hill, and there’s plenty of room up here for the rest you. Here’s why you should join me.
For those of you not yet initiated into the Cult of Peggy Carter, a brief overview. Peggy served a stint as a code-breaker during WWII before moving into a position at the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), where she would meet Steve Rogers. Over the course of the war, the two fell in love, but never managed to tell each other about the depths of their feelings before Steve was lost to the ice shelf and rendered 2012's problem.
Distraught but strong, Peggy would go on to found S.H.I.E.L.D. (named in memory of Steve—no, I’m not crying, you’re crying) and would become instrumental in the creation of the first round of Avengers: the first Ant-Man (Michael Douglas, whom we met in Ant-Man), the first Wasp (Michelle Pfeiffer, as we'll see in next year's Ant-Man and the Wasp), and most likely Captain Marvel (Brie Larson, whose solo flick is scheduled for early 2019). Her integrity and bravery would influence Steve Rogers throughout the rest of his life. Without her, one could argue there would be no Captain America. There certainly wouldn’t be the Avengers.
Yet, for all her critical contributions to the current MCU landscape, Peggy has been sidelined due to age. Unlike Steve, there was no super soldier serum to keep Peggy Carter young, and thus, she died of old age during Captain America: Civil War. Or did she? Yes, she had a funeral, but I seem to recall another famous S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was pronounced dead only to return thereafter for his greatest adventures yet.
If one subscribes to the George R.R. Martin school of character death, Peggy Carter might yet live. Yes, she had a funeral. But did you see a body? I sure didn’t. No body means no death. But how could Peggy have survived the cold grip of mortality? Surprisingly, there is more than one option. After all, Peggy had a closed casket funeral, so there’s no proof her body was even in there. She could have undergone the same process that brought Agent Coulson back from the dead. Or she could have her consciousness transferred to an A.I. system, like Arnim Zola. When science is so futuristic that it’s basically magic, anything is possible with a few simple S.H.I.E.L.D. shenanigans.
But that's not even the most obvious method for bringig Peggy back from the dead. Our second theory: Steve and the Time Stone. As seen in Doctor Strange, the Time Stone only affects the continuum around the object or person in question. This would be a nice way to circumvent the inherent space-time continuum (and ethical) problems of bringing Young Peggy to the future by ripping her out of her established timeline, what with her founding S.H.I.E.L.D., getting married, and generally living a full life. Instead, the Time Stone would simply revert her to an age where she once again looks like Hayley Atwell.
And yet, by far the most interesting way to return Peggy to the MCU fold involves villains not set to appear until Captain Marvel: The Skrull. Real quick, the Skrull are an alien race of shapeshifters that can look like anyone. When Brie Larson enters the MCU, her Captain Marvel film will be a prequel of sorts, taking place in the 1990s and involving a fight with the Skrull. And who was in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 1990s? Peggy Carter... allegedly.
What if Peggy had been spirited away at some point? Perhaps the Skrull made a deal with HYDRA to remove Peggy from the equation so HYDRA could more easily take over S.H.I.E.L.D. from within. Perhaps the real Peggy was put into stasis in case her knowledge was ever useful. Perhaps Captain Marvel discovers this treasonous act, which could explain her absence from Earth for decades as she fights Skrull with Peggy Carter by her side.
At the very least, Marvel could use the Skrull as a way to get Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) out of the way of Steve and Peggy’s True Love™. The foundation is already set. Sharon is allegedly Peggy’s grand-niece, but that makes no sense. Yes, Peggy Carter had a brother, but his death is what led her to join the war effort during WWII. With the last name of Carter, Sharon can’t be related to Peggy through her husband’s side of the family. So what gives? Occam’s Razor: Sharon isn’t real. She’s the Dawn Summers of the MCU. Hell, Sharon as a Skrull would even explain the ill-advised kiss between her and Steve during Civil War. Her mission is to distract Steve from remembering his soulmate, Peggy.
But why would I even think Peggy Carter has a chance at showing up again? Well, take Marvel's subtle teasing of her return in a montage set before the Infinity War trailer at SDCC. As I wrote at the time:
During the montage, the voiceover says “Time can fix anything,” while the camera lingers on the Time Stone. The scene then cuts to Captain America taking to old Peggy on her deathbed before she morphs back into young Peggy Carter from the first Captain America movie.
A good story has a satisfying ending for its characters. When Captain America: The First Avenger came out in 2011, one of the ongoing exchanges between Steve and Peggy revolved around him taking her out to dance. It crops up over and over, even in Steve’s last words to Peggy as his ship crashes into the ice. They never got their dance, but Peggy talks about it in Agent Carter and Scarlet Witch uses it against Steve in Age of Ultron. Audiences have been waiting nearly a decade for these two to get their dance, and the end of Infinity War is the perfect place to put it. Peggy and Steve, dancing at their wedding, right after the mantle of Captain America passes to either Bucky or Falcon. Peggy and Steve deserve a happy ending and I will die on this hill to make it happen.
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