Fan-favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe star Hayley Atwell has made new comments that seem to clarify the decision to cancel the ABC television series Agent Carter, in which she played the starring role, may have come from the program’s network, ABC, and not Marvel itself.
“It’s a shame the network canceled it and wanted to put me in something more mainstream. You know, Marvel didn’t want it to end. There’s lots of online campaigns to bring her back. Fans loved her. I think it was just a network economical thing: ‘Let’s put Hayley Atwell in something more mainstream that’s less genre-specific and see if we can get higher ratings,’” stated Atwell in an interview with The A.V. Club. “And unfortunately, that isn’t, as an actor, anything I’ve got control over. But maybe, in small ways, characters like Peggy Carter very slowly pave the way for it to be possible for other female-led narratives to exist.”
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Atwell was eventually cast as the lead in the ABC series Conviction with the new program picked up the same day the network canceled Agent Carter. Conviction was ultimately canceled after its initial run of thirteen episodes. Since then, Atwell has nothing but positive things to say about her experiences with Marvel and the character she reprised across Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man.
The MCU alum said of her old employer, “I really love the people that I work with in Marvel. I’ve known Louis D’Esposito for eight years now, and Kevin Feige; they’re really good fun, and they’re good guys. And it’s a franchise that works because it has that tongue-in-cheek element to it that I think Joss Whedon also brought in. When I kind of look at anything now, I look at it in terms of the genre and the context and who its audience is. And I feel that Marvel have their winning formula at the moment of creating superhero genre that everyone wants to see.”
“Peggy’s such a lovely character. I am kind of playing her with my eyes closed, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t play her again, because I like what she puts out into the world.”
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Running for two seasons from 2015 to 2016, Agent Carter followed the adventures of Peggy Carter, first introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger. Taking place shortly after that film, the short-lived series saw Carter working for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), a precursor to SHIELD, as the secret agent dealing with new threats rising from the ashes of World War II. The series was canceled on May 12, 2016 with the network citing diminishing ratings for the show’s second reason as the reason for the cancellation.