‘Agent Carter’ Finale Postmortem: Producers Talk Surprise Cameo, What’s Next for Peggy

agent carter finale peggy cap

Spoiler Warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen the “Agent Carter” season one finale, titled “Valediction”

“Agent Carter” ended its first season with an emotional gut-punch and then — in true Marvel fashion — with a tantalizing tease, all but guaranteed to leave viewers wanting more and further illustrating the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s central motto — “everything is connected.” The hour saw Peggy (Hayley Atwell) and her allies, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) and Agents Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) and Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) succeed in defeating the manipulative Dr. Faustus/Fennhoff (Ralph Brown) and saving the city. But in the episode’s final moments, the newly incarcerated hypnotist met his equally terrifying cellmate, Dr. Zola (Toby Jones), the HYDRA scientist who became the architect of the Winter Solider program that turned Captain America’s (Chris Evans) former ally, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), into a human weapon for the terrorist organization.

The episode also offered some closure for Peggy, who poignantly chose to destroy the last remaining vial of Steve Rodgers’ blood to prevent it from once again falling into the wrong hands. Although our heroine closed one chapter of her life by saying goodbye to her lost love, she opened another by moving into one of Howard Stark’s residences with her friend Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca), after finally earning the trust and respect of her colleagues at the SSR. More importantly — despite numerous accusations of treason along the way — Peggy maintained her integrity and sense of self-worth, ensuring that even when Agent Thompson reverted to his caddish ways and took all the credit for saving the day, our heroine was secure enough in her own abilities to recognize that she didn’t require anyone else’s approval (even the President’s) to validate her.

Variety spoke to “Agent Carter” showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters to discuss the surprising events of the finale and gather some intel on a potential season two, should the series receive a renewal from ABC. Below, they elaborate on the finale’s “Winter Soldier” connection, discuss the possibility of future romance for Peggy, and share what they’re most proud of from working on the show.

I love that you chose to end the episode — not counting the stinger — with Peggy saying goodbye to Steve. It was such a poignant place to end Peggy’s arc when we’ve been conditioned to expect big twists and high drama in an episode’s final moments. Did you always know you wanted to go out on a more grounded, emotional note when you were breaking the season?
Fazekas: I think that was a very early idea, that that would be the conclusion of her personal arc for the season — that in order to move on with her life, she had to let Cap go. So when she’s talking Howard down out of the plane, she’s talking to him, but she’s also talking to herself. And I think even [executive producers Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely had always said, “she destroys the last bottle of blood,” which makes perfect sense to me, because she could keep it, hole it up, hide it in another wall somewhere — and I think part of her wants to — but it’s more important for her to protect him than hold on to him.

Does that farewell scene represent a true sense of closure for Peggy, as far as Cap’s concerned? Would we see less of an emphasis on him in a potential season two, despite how much she’s clearly always going to love him?
Butters: I think he’s there to complicate her life when we need him.
Fazekas: But yeah, it does naturally follow that if she’s letting him go, she does have to let him go. But it also opens up all these other avenues — we even see it when Sousa asks her out.
Butters: Did you notice what he did with the crutch?
Fazekas: It wasn’t even written this way — he leans the crutch against his desk and takes a couple of steps away from it so he’s just standing in front of her without the crutch before he asks her out. It’s such a little thing but it speaks volumes. So he asks her out, she’s clearly touched by it — Hayley was lovely in that scene — but she says “I have other plans,” which she does. But she gives him — and he doesn’t see it; he’s heartbroken — but she gives him that little smile at the end of the scene, which to me says she’s open to this; either with Sousa or with someone else. For the first time, she’s open to considering, “maybe I need to have that part of my life happen also.”

The episode closed with the return of Dr. Zola, which was a delightful surprise. Firstly, who on earth would be crazy enough to put one evil criminal mastermind in a cell with another evil criminal mastermind — are they that cramped for space?
Fazekas: Space is very limited in this prison. [Laughs.] Here’s how this idea came about: Markus and McFeely, I think when we came on to the pilot, had half of a notion, “oh, maybe the bad guy is Dr. Faustus/Fennhoff.” So we developed that idea and when we pitched it to Marvel, Marvel were the ones who said, “oh, we can tie it in and say that this is the basis for the Winter Soldier program.” It really feels very organic in that way.
Butters: I love that it makes “Agent Carter” speak to the larger MCU. We’re really connected and everything that happens, even though we’re happening in the past, we can tie into things that are going to happen in future movies or movies that have already existed. It makes it feel more real. It feels like you’re learning the secrets that you didn’t know before.

Exactly — you can see from that single scene how the seeds for HYDRA’s future SHIELD takeover are sown. Do you have an entire gameplan worked out for a potential second season and beyond, or are you taking it season by season as it comes?
Fazekas: We’ve certainly been talking about what a second season would look like, and there’s a lot of different ideas, but I don’t think just because you see Toby Jones at the end of this season that, “oh, next season’s going to be about Toby Jones.” That was really just to tie it into the Winter Soldier program. That being said, the best ideas will win the day, so I think once we really get into talking about a second season… we have a lot of ideas, and what’s great about the structure of this show is, you can tell so many different stories and go so many different directions.

Angie now knows the truth about Peggy — would you foresee her trying to get more involved in Peggy’s world going forward, or would you hope for her to remain the more grounded point in Peggy’s life? Despite Lyndsy Fonseca’s ass-kicking credentials, I kind of love seeing Angie as this tether for Peggy, to keep her connected to the real world and a few more mundane problems.
Butters: I agree, I don’t think Angie’s ever going to become a super-spy. I’d rather her be the person who’s encouraging Peggy to go on a date.
Fazekas: The person that Peggy can confide in. And now on a much more authentic level. Which isn’t to say that there isn’t fun to be had in Angie using her acting skills on the job… But no, I don’t see her ever getting heavily involved in the SSR; that’s not what I like about that character.

Thompson certainly came out on top of the whole situation with Fennhoff and Stark; does this mean he’s looking to get a promotion to chief now that there’s a power vacuum in the SSR?
Fazekas: My view is, he certainly expects one, but we don’t always get what we want. [Laughs.]

What are you most looking forward to exploring in a potential season two?
Butters: We’ve talked about exploring more of Peggy’s past; how did she end up working for the SSR, what drove her to that? Just exploring Peggy — that’s the great thing about television, it allows you to explore these characters more in-depth than you get in a movie.

What are you most proud of from this season, looking back?
Fazekas:
Specific to this episode, I love the last scene between Peggy and Jarvis — it’s one of my favorite scenes… You write it and then you see how it’s directed and performed, and what I loved about how Chris Marciano directed it was, Angie freaks out about the penthouse and is cute and then she goes off, and the rest of the scene, the way Chris Marciano directed it is, they’re so far apart from each other, there’s all this furniture between them and they’re talking about everything but what they’re actually talking about, which is “oh my god, I’m really gonna miss you, I really liked working with you.” So they’re having this very restrained conversation and they’re apart for almost the entire scene until right after he pulls the vial of blood out and hands it to her, and they just touch fingers when she takes it from him. My favorite emotion to write and to see is “not cry,” and they’re both holding back this well of emotion, and there’s tears rimming Hayley’s eyes — it’s so great, and she does “not cry” like crazy. So that’s just a good example of a scene I’m really proud of.
Butters: And I’ll take it in a broader sense; this has been such an amazing experience for both Michele and I, from the writers we work with on a daily basis to the production staff we work with; getting the opportunity to work with ILM for our visual effects and this truly amazing cast. In an overall sense, we’re both incredibly proud of this as an eight-episode series, I just couldn’t be prouder.
Fazekas: Of all the jobs we’ve had, everyone is so happy — not that we haven’t worked in jobs where people have been happy, but it’s been especially apparent on this show that everyone is so happy to be working on it and so happy to be coming in every day.
Butters: And we’re all working for the same purpose, to make a great TV show, and Marvel put all those pieces together, along with ABC, that really made it happen.

“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” returns to its 9 p.m. Tuesday timeslot beginning March 3.

What did you think of the “Agent Carter” finale? What would you like to see in a potential second season? Weigh in below!

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  1. Alli says:

    I hope her and Angie at least get a kiss some time.

  2. Drina67 says:

    We would LOVE to see a Season Two for this show! Season One was really classy! We looked forward to it every week!

  3. Jill H says:

    Agent Carter succeeds in ways the 21st viewer takes for granted. Female-driven shows of today must employ a strong woman, but she is allowed to explore authority in a way Peggy will never really get to… sadly. But Atwell’s performance could, with continued good writing, draw us into her world with great empathy and show today’s audience the value of non-compliance with the status quo.

  4. josh says:

    First off, i’m not a die-hard “Marvel” cinema fan…..and yet I LOVED this mini-series. Every character was drawn well, and acted superbly. I’m sure some will rip this to shreds for miniscule reasons, but not me. THIS is what I come to love in television: entertainment, pure and simple. This was like watching a comic book in action, only better. Bring it BACK, please!

  5. I loved this 1st season of Agent Carter and of course the star Atwood. She is perfect for this role and you feel so connected to her just as you did in Captain America. I sincerely hope they approve a season 2 as we don’t have enough women leads that looks so good kicking ass..:)!!

    • KChev says:

      Exactly. In the previous Captain America film, he visits an old 90 something Peggy in a nursing home and she says she married one of his friends and had a child. Before they end the series, it would be great to know who that it is. Did you see the way Howard Stark looked her up and down just before giving evidence to the police following his surprise entrance to the SSR? That’s usual for him and can’t imagine she’d trust him or love him to marry, but who knows? Love, Love, this show. Just let us see the G-men and women gun down the evil guys once in a while. I know the writers try to create drama, but the only drama they’re creating is me getting really pissed off at them.

  6. KChev says:

    My favorite show in so many ways insulted my intelligence when the agents were constantly hesitating to shoot to kill the bad guys and allowing them to get away and wreak havoc on the world. Then when the bad guys do wreak havoc, they still don’t take them down. Agents who are hardened WWII soldiers hesitating to shoot the enemy? Dottie gets away? Very Frustrating. Other than that, I can’t say enough about the cast and acting.

    • daniel says:

      XD so true, that was actually the only thing that bothered me too

      • cdhaskell says:

        I must agree with KChev about when the good guy don’t stop the bad guy from committing more crime and killing the innocent. The good guy will claim that they aren’t judge and jury. They started making some kind of speech that don’t make any sense.

  7. Mary Butler says:

    MORE, More, More Peggy Carter!!! She’s intelligent, gutsy and an incredible role model.

  8. Peggy says:

    Season Two Please and soon!!!!!!

  9. Shelbi says:

    SEASON TWO!

  10. Johnny Depp says:

    Yes! A second season! Please!!!!

  11. Kendra says:

    Please renew this for a second season! I love the era and Peggy! We need to see more female lead characters!

  12. Marty says:

    There should be a second season! It’s a really good series and should continue! It is currently my favourite show!!! I don’t think you should worry about the hate out there because me and my family love to watch this! We record it just so we can watch it again! Please make another season! Thanks!

  13. Don says:

    8 or more seasons are needed for this show. Aside from the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D (which naturally has to bring Tommy Lee Jones into the cast for that season) I would like to see – as sad as it will be – is how Hydra eventually infiltrates the agency and then how it murders Howard and his wife, Maria. That will probably one of the most saddest moments in Marvel cinema universe. I can just imagine the beautiful acting skills of Hayley Atwell in full gear once confronted with the actual death of Howard’s character. That’s something worth watching. This show has so much promise. If ABC doesn’t renew it – God forbid – then Fazekas & Butters along with Marvel should seriously consider making it into a Netflix show where it will be exponentially more popular.

  14. I thought the season ended pretty good. There is only so much you can do in 8 episodes and that was accomplished. I like the connection to the Black Widow as well as Dr. Zola. The interweaving into other characters catches your attention. Season 1 introduced you to various characters and the interactions that are going on. Season 2 can build on the and incorporate some character building and start the groundwork for building the series up.

  15. Scott says:

    I think they have a lot of ideas that they are keeping close for this show. I really believe that they will use this show to flesh out the Winter Soldier flashback scenes for Captain America 3 and also the tech found by Tony Stark that eventually becomes Ultron. Maybe we will even see a 10 year old Hank Pym start his path toward being Ant Man as well! I believe that Marvel will succeed in structuring their shows to complement their movies more and more as time goes on. The nice thing about Agent Carter is that the Marvel Universe is in a way a blank slate again since all other movies besides Cap take place 60-70 years in the future. Many characters exist in both times as well as previous incarnations of characters. It wouldn’t be hard to have Wakanda pre-Panther, the Inhumans, Asgardians or elements from their other space and mystic characters. A simple passing comment in a present Marvel Universe movie could be fleshed out to encompass an entire season for Peggy Carter. And I haven’t even mentioned Hydra!

  16. Rob says:

    Bring back the show. Haven’t missed an episode. I love how it all ties together. I would love to see some more cameos. Maybe Tommy Lee Jones. Any way bring this show back.

  17. Stephanie Check says:

    Agent Carter season 2! Yessssssss Pleeeeeaaaaasssseeee! No other show out there is like this one. Truly unique and has incredible everything else!

  18. Carlos Ruiz says:

    I totally agree with Erin. It is a great show and i think that Peggy is ‘ HOT ‘. Not only as lead actor , but also as a Female lead actor. Every episode revolves great around her. Please bring the back . Even if I have to record it , I never miss an episode. HINT; TRY Mondays , there’s never anything to watch on that night. Think about it , PLEASE !!!

  19. George says:

    Thanks Disney, Marvel and ABC for Agent Carter, it was a wonderful and fun show. It was great to finally have a hero (heroine) who is tough, intelligent but still shows sadness and cries at the loss of friends and co-workers. Hayley Atwell is a wonderful actress, and I loved every moment she was on the screen. I VOTE for a season 2. If there is a season 2, I hope it focuses on her rise to the top and the beginning of SHIELD. More Howard, Jarvis, THE Howling Commandos and Dottie!

  20. stefanieRibarra says:

    Yes season 2 please… I want to know how SHIELD was created!

  21. Erin says:

    I thought this was a GREAT show and I really enjoyed Peggy as the lead role. I would totally watch this in season two. Make that happen!

  22. rick cole says:

    I loved Agent Carter. One of the few I looked forward to each week. Definitely deserves 2nd season.

  23. Madeleine says:

    Loved it. And a big YES to a second season. Love Peggy Carter. And Jarvis.

  24. Howard says:

    Wonderful interview. The final episode was a BLAST! everything fitted in so well, it didn’t looked rushed or anything. it was a great job. I loved every second of it.

  25. Critics aside, those who have watched the show have really liked the show. It would be a shame if Disney/ABC didn’t continue to let the show grow out the Marvel Universe.

  26. Marshall says:

    Loved the show, and loved that it was anything but formulaic (something I almost expected based on the pilot). The chemistry that Hayley and James have (and Hayley and Lyndsey have) is enough to anchor an entire show on! I really hope we get to see more stories of this amazing woman (with this amazing cast) in due time!

  27. teewreckss says:

    I hope there is a season 2 but since it’s over who is really excited for daredevil and aka Jessica jones??? I know I am!!

  28. teewreckss says:

    I thought this was an amazing TV show. Really good tie in and we get to know more about Peggy’s life.

  29. Maria says:

    There needs to be a season two! The show is amazing, there is such good representation, storyline and characters in it. I just hope ABC can see how good everyone thinks it is.

  30. truthunicorn says:

    Obviously season two should happen. Why is this even a question?This is the best thing that has ever happened to ABC

  31. taylor says:

    It was an amazing episode i didn’t want it to end i love this show i want to know more about Peggy i hope it gets a 2nd season

    • cdhaskell says:

      I agree with Taylor that there should be a second season I hope that the first season will be release on DVD format. I wanted to see the behind the scene stuff. I hope that Dottie will return in the second season because it is rare to see a good villainess that is so evil in her own right and she look like she can herself in an battle.

  32. Eclectic Gal says:

    Love the show, hope they do have a season two! Very touching with great action choreography.

  33. I’ve been surprised by this programme. Marvel are having the better of the TV efforts too, leaving DC in the dust with the awful ‘Gotham’

  34. Catherine says:

    Great show, reminds me of Alias. A wonderful twist on the Marvel franchise.

  35. Chris Clarke says:

    Isn’t the director Chris Missiano?

  36. flash says:

    Loved it and want a season two! WOuld love to see Carter on Shield too!

    • Mike says:

      wouldn’t mind carter on shield, but the timeline doesn’t really add up. Carter and Coulson would be great! Really hope it gets a season 2!!

  37. jr says:

    Excellent series!! AMAZING finale!!! Super hoping for a 2nd season!!

  38. Boo says:

    “She’s open to this; either with Sousa or with someone else.”

    I hope you mean WITH SOUSA. If the nice guy with the injured leg doesn’t get the girl…

    • pl19 says:

      Maybe she’ll date him, but she doesn’t get with him in the end. In CA:TWS in the reel that Steve watches at the Smithsonian she says that she marries someone from the group of soldiers that he liberates in CA1, probably one of the remaining Howling Commandoes.

  39. James says:

    Good bye (I hope).

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