Loki and his mischievous variants accidentally caused the birth of the Multiverse when they murdered Kang. While the ramifications of that are sure to cause a headache for the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Phase 4, it’s opened up some fantastic storytelling opportunities, and Marvel’s newest TV series is going to explore them.
What If…? is Marvel’s first animated series tied to the MCU, and explores the newly created Marvel Multiverse, telling stories set in alternate timelines where slight changes have massive ramifications on the course of history. With nearly limitless stories and characters to explore, the series aptly starts at the beginning of the MCU (chronologically at least) with an alternate version of the star-spangled man himself, Captain America.
In this parallel timeline, it’s not Steve Rogers who gets the super-soldier serum. Instead, it’s Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) who receives a dose of Doctor Abraham Erskine’s magical blue revitalising tonic. But what caused this divergence? Are there any other differences between our Cap and Captain Carter? And will we see her again?
What was Captain Carter’s nexus event?
The nexus event that led to the creation of Captain Carter was caused by Peggy refusing to leave the operating room where Steve was about to receive the super-soldier serum. In the original timeline, Peggy left the room to go to the observation deck, allowing the experiment to happen as planned.
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In this new timeline, though, she doesn’t, and her staying spooks the German spy in the room, causing him to assassinate Doctor Erskine early. In the resulting chaos, Steve Rogers is shot, and a fire breaks out. With Steve unable to undergo enhancement and the serum about to be destroyed, Peggy does the only thing she can do and takes the dose herself.
Who is Captain Carter?
Captain Carter is Peggy Carter with the super-soldier serum. Like Steve, once he’d had the serum administered, the army planned on using her for propaganda work, believing that a woman had no place on the front lines.
Peggy, of course, refused to take this lying down, and after being equipped with a British version of Cap’s suit and shield, she manages to arrest Armin Zola before he can get the Tesseract to the Red Skull. Like in the original timeline, the army then realises her value, and they start sending her on missions.
Eventually, she’s dispatched to rescue Bucky and the Howling Commandos from Red Skull’s castle, where she ends up in a spot of bother. Thankfully the Steve Rogers of this universe is no less heroic than our Captain America and using the confiscated Tesseract, he and Howard Stark build a proto Iron man suit called the Hydra Stomper.
This armour allows him to rescue Peggy and Bucky. Captain Carter and the Hydra Stomper then become a Nazi butt-kicking machine, much to the anger of the Red Skull.
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Eventually, the Red Skull manages to capture Steve and get his hands on the Tesseract. With no Zola to make weapons for him, though, he’s forced to change his plans and uses the Space Stone to open a portal to the home of a hideous squid monster.
The Cthulu-like creature refuses to be controlled, however and kills the Red Skull. To stop the beast, Peggy sacrifices herself and ends up trapped in an alternate dimension. That is until Nick Fury gets his hands on the cube and accidentally brings her to the modern-day.
She eventually helps the Multiversal Avengers deal with Infinity Ultron before being sent back to her own dimension by The Watcher.
Captain Carter in Doctor Strange 2
A variant of Captain Carter appears in Doctor Strange 2. This version appears to be from Earth-838 and we imagine she shares the same origin and powers as the version seen in What If…?
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A member of the superhero team The Illuminati Captain Carter protected her universe from numerous threats including Thanos. Eventually, the Stephen Strange of Eart-838 caused an Incursion event and Carter – along with the other members of the Illuminati – voted to have the Sorceror Supreme executed.
This version of Captain Carter died when she made the mistake of battling Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, and got cut in half by her own shield.
What are Captain Carter’s powers?
Captain Carter possesses all the powers and equipment of Captain America. The Super Soldier Serum enhances all of Peggy’s physical abilities to peak human levels. This includes strength, speed, and agility.
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The serum also prevents the build-up of harmful toxins in the body, giving Peggy extreme endurance and stopping her from getting drunk. Her natural intelligence and tactical ability complement Peggy’s superhuman abilities. Plus, she’s got that nifty vibranium shield courtesy of Howard Stark.
Will we see Captain Carter in What If…? again?
What If…? producer Brad Winderbaum said, at a press conference attended by The Digital Fix, that Captain Carter will return in season 2.
He explained that early on in development, as scripts started coming in, and they were plotting out an arc for the series that Captain Carter had a “strong relationship” with The Watcher that they wanted to explore in other series of What If…?
What If…? is streaming on Disney Plus now while Doctor Strange 2is in theatres.