Agent Carter Series Premiere: Hayley Atwell Breaks Down All Those Twists—and Teases What's Coming Next

What is Howard Stark hiding? What's coming up for Peggy's love life? Get the scoop!

By Sydney Bucksbaum Jan 07, 2015 3:00 AMTags
Marvels Agent CarterABC/Eric McCandless

Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), we bow down to you. We. Bow. Down!

Marvel's newest superhero hit the ground running (literally!) during tonight's two-hour series premiere of Agent Carter, and two hours was just not enough...we can't get enough of Peggy's sarcastic humor, quick wit, and kick-butt moves!

When she's not saving the day as the S.S.R.'s best and most-underrated secret agent, she's saving the day on a smaller scale for everyone in her life—like making sure that sexist diner never bothers waitress Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca) again! And while she can't save everyone (RIP Peggy's roommate...we bet you're really regretting taking that sick day now, huh?), she's determined to try, all while battling a broken heart for the missing-and-presumed-dead Captain America (Chris Evans).

ABC/Eric McCandless

But what really caught our attention during the premiere of ABC's prequel series to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the mysterious secret that Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and his butler Jarvis (James D'Arcy) are keeping from Peggy...namely, that they "chose" her for something.

"The secret is a very personal one," Atwell tells E! News. "It starts off with the mission to find his 'bad babies' but what is awesome is that it's not just a show where it's an episode of finding bad baby after bad baby. It goes to a much, much deeper place. She is actually part of a much, much bigger scheme that is very personal to her."

And while Atwell couldn't reveal exactly what that scheme is (where's the fun in that?!) she did tease that it's going to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

"I can tell you that it relates to her past and that it's incredibly emotional," Atwell says. "There are elements of betrayal in it, too. It makes for incredibly compelling television."

And as for that Leviathan threat Peggy learned about on her mission, is it really as scary as it sounds? As it turns out, not quite!

ABC/Kelsey McNeal

"It is not what it seems to be," Atwell teases. "And the people are not who they appear to be. It's a huge mystery as to what exactly a Leviathan is. It is kind of the big bad like Hydra and it takes her on lots of missions and it means that she constantly has to run for her life."

When she's not running for her life on sanctioned S.S.R. missions (or on top-secret missions to find Stark's "bad babies"), Peggy is going to have her hands full back at the office dealing with office politics and sexism from all her male co-workers. But expect Peggy to show them how wrong they are to pigeon-hole her as inferior just because of her gender as the season goes forward.

"Against their better judgment, they're really frustrated that she ends up being really good at what she does and better than them," Atwell says. "They have to fall again and again to see her in a new light, and that's going to be their personal struggles and the arc of their characters."

Her biggest critic as of now? Hot-shot Agent Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray), who is determined to keep Peggy out of the field. Atwell promises that while Thompson might seem like a bad guy now, viewers will learn more about why he is the way he is in later episodes.

ABC/Kelsey McNeal

"Peggy and Jack go on a trip and they're forced into a small, confined space together," Atwell teases. "They shoot the s--t. They go right for the jugular, ‘Who are you? What's your path? What's your background?' And from there, from that episode on, they develop a deeper, mutual respect and dynamic between them, which is really cool. He's not just this two-dimensional character. There's a reason for why he is the way he is."

And if you thought you saw a spark between Peggy and her co-worker, Agent Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), the war hero who faces the same prejudices in the office as Peggy due to his crippling leg injury, you are not wrong.

"Oh there's definitely a spark there, and there are some seeds for a potential deeper relationship there," Atwell says. "They have a better relationship than any of the other men she works with. But bearing in mind, this is still the same year that Cap presumably died, so for her it's still very raw. We'll see her struggle with whether she's ready to move on or not and how that manifests as the season progresses."

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Agent Carter airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.