The Marvel movies haven’t exactly been great when it comes to giving exciting roles to female characters (and performers). Sure, there are usually female characters in these movies but they’re almost always playing second (or third) banana. Even when noted feminist Joss Whedon made “The Avengers,” he gave the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) such a reduced role you couldn’t be faulted for wondering if she was one of the superheroes’ girlfriend. Thankfully, there might be one (small) inroad made in the form of “Agent Carter,” a Marvel short film that accompanies the Blu-ray/DVD release of “Iron Man 3,” and features Hayley Atwell‘s Peggy Carter front and center. Today comes the first images and poster (wait, there’s posters for promotional short films now?), as the pre-Comic-Con nerd frenzy builds to a deafening buzz.
The poster, featuring Atwell and a worn, pulp magazine look, is surprisingly cool (sadly the constant promotion of other things—somehow both the “Iron Man 3” home video release and the theatrical bow of “Captain America: Winter Soldier” both get mentioned) and the images are promising. The short represents an expanded sense of scale for the short films, like “Item 47,” the one on “The Avengers” Blu-ray where a couple of dweebs use alien technology to become bank robbers.
“First of all it’s a period piece. You have three fight scenes as opposed to ‘Item 47,’ where we just had basically one action scene,” Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito told Entertainment Weekly (who debuted the images). “We had five days – one more day than we did on ‘Item 47’ but I think it’s double in size. And also the visual style of it, that requires time. So there was pressure on us. I have people looking over my shoulder, looking at the watch saying, ‘Come on, you’re costing us a lot of money!’ ”
The short film apparently serves as connective tissue between “Iron Man 3” and next spring’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” with D’Esposito telling EW, “Not everyone can be frozen in ice from that period, so it was: How do we tell another Hayley Atwell story?”
In it, Carter is on the hunt for Zodiac (D’Esposito says, vaguely, of Zodiac: “it’s deadly, it’s important, bad guys are guarding it, and it’s imperative she gets it”) and butts heads with a bureaucratic asshole played by Bradley Whitford (!), who is a part of the early version of S.H.I.E.L.D. This could be really, really fun.
“Iron Man 3” debuts on DVD and Blu-ray on September 24th and you’ll also be able to see the short in theatres next year. There will undoubtedly be more “Agent Carter”-related nonsense as Comic-Con kicks off next week. Hold onto your pocket protectors boys!