Captain America Star Hayley Atwell on Marvel’s What If...? Showing Peggy Carter in a “Very Different Light”

When Peggy Carter next returns in Marvel Studios’ animated Disney+ series What If...?, voiced by Marvel Cinematic Universe star Hayley Atwell, it will be as the super-powered Captain Carter. Exploring new spins on previously told stories set outside the MCU canon, an episode of What If...? inspired by Captain America: The First Avenger will answer what would have happened if it was SSR agent Peggy Carter — not scrawny kid from Brooklyn Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) — who was exposed to the Super Soldier serum, endowing her with the powers of her alternate-universe counterpart Captain America.

“So What If...?, the premise is, what if a crucial point changed, what would the consequences be?” Atwell shared with Extra Butter when on hand for the series’ presentation at D23 Expo. “And in my episode, it’s if Peggy Carter became Captain Carter. She takes the serum, and Steve Rogers remains Steve Rogers, and she gets to pick up the shield and go on the adventure. So it’s a very different light that we’re seeing her in.”

Atwell also said Marvel Studios, in developing their first animated series, have created something “beautiful.”

“It’s a beautiful aesthetic, what they’ve done, and they’ve matched a lot of my vocal performance to then creating the animation. So you see a lot of her emotional reactions in the animation,” Atwell said. “So it doesn’t feel like it’s too kind of unrealistic or too cartoony, it just feels like it’s a beautiful tone that they’ve found with her.”

This marks Atwell’s ninth time stepping into the role for a Marvel Studios television or film production after appearing across two Captain America installments and making cameos in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man and Avengers: Endgame. Atwell also appeared in episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after starring in an eponymous Marvel One-Shot that ultimately inspired her own two-season ABC series Agent Carter.

“She’s someone who, I love playing her because I think she has a very strong sense of self and that she’s unshakable in her, kind of her moral compass, and her own integrity,” Atwell added. “And that’s something I think she shares with Steve, before Steve had become Captain America. That’s the thing that connects them.”

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What If...? showrunner Ashley Bradley recently disputed the belief the series would dedicate one episode to each of the MCU’s 23 movies. Instead, the series will involve the “majority” of characters from across the films, and episodes will often include multiple characters per episode.

Disney+ releases What If...? sometime in summer 2021. The streaming service first launches November 12.