Who ever expected Peggy Carter to be the breakout character of Captain America: The First Avenger? Thanks to Hayley Atwell's kickass yet compassionate performance, this once obscure supporting character will be headlining her own TV show on ABC. Agent Carter will act as a period piece prequel to Agents of SHIELD by showing the SSR of WWII before it upgraded to a cooler acronym. (Some sources say the show will take place between the first Captain America and the Agent Carter One-Shot.) Its eight-episode first season is slated to air during the middle hiatus of Agents of SHIELD's second season.
Hopefully its showrunners, Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, will learn from the mistakes of Marvel Studios' first foray into live action TV. Agents of SHIELD has the unfortunate habit of dealing with some nifty Marvel stuff in the most perfunctory manner possible, or wedging it between bland character work while it treads water. Agent Carter can hopefully avoid these pitfalls, especially if it surrounds Peggy with some dynamic characters from the comics. I'm acting under the assumption that anyone from the first Captain America who didn't have a dramatic exit (Howard Stark, Colonel Chester Phillips, the Howling Commandos, Dr. Arnim Zola) is potentially in play, so this list is just for new characters to be introduced. Stark butler Edwin Jarvis is already confirmed to appear, making JARVIS 50% creepier now that we know Tony based it off a real person. The Marvel Cinematic Universe's timeline doesn't exactly match up to Marvel' Comics' timeline (Nick Fury wasn't old enough to be a Howling Commando in the movieverse despite starring in a book named Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos!), so I'm picking the characters that would best fill out the espionage action showcase even if they weren't originally active during WWII. So who should Peggy Carter bring along with her when she inevitably conquers television?
12. Clay Quartermain
When I think of "generic SHIELD agents," Clay Quartermain is the first thing that pops into my mind. I'm surprised he hasn't been namedropped as a background character yet. He's a blond,wholesome, lantern-jawed man of action. Too bad Captain America already fills out those traits and then some. The only really unique thing about Clay is that he once brough a lasso to a gunfight, but that doesn't win him any points because he's not Wonder Woman.
So why'd I put him on this list in the first place? So he can be built up as proto-SHIELD's MVP only to be cut down by one of the show's villains to raise the stakes. Granted, this tactic would be more shocking if the title didn't already spoil who the main protagonist is. Nevertheless, being fridged would still be the most interesting thing to ever happen to Clay Quartermain.
11. Monica Rappaccini
Women in STEM careers don't get enough recognition or representation, which makes Monica Rappaccini a suitable correction for this imbalance. Sure, she's an amoral member of the criminal science cabal, AIM, but the fact that she made it to the rank of Scientist Supreme makes her a great career role model. Since the MCU's AIM wasn't founded until recently by Aldrich "How can I be The Mandarin without any alien power rings?" Killian, her affiliation would have to be switched to HYDRA. Somebody has to pick up the mad science slack after Zola's defection!
Her forte is concocting biological and chemical weapons, which gives her underlings a reason to wear yellow hazmat suits (the easiest AIM fanservice that Iron Man 3 could've included). Monica even bioengineered superpowers into her daughter, so this show can foreshadow that fellow amoral scientist Raina from Agents of SHIELD is her granddaughter that she splices with Inhuman DNA. Monica could even be the key to the secrets of Skye's secret heritage! Just kidding! They'll never stop flogging that mysterious dead horse.
Don't expect to see an episode with the full Invaders, the WWII Avengers, invade your DVR due to legal constraints. The original robot Human Torch only got a cameo in the first Cap flick because Fox has the rights to the nigh-identical-looking Human Torch of Fantastic Four. Universal is sitting on the Namor the Sub-Mariner rights because it apparently doesn't like money. Spitfire, on the other hand, looks to be free and clear.
She's the daughter of Union Jack, who already appeared as a Howling Commando but was unrecognizable because he wasn't wearing a patriotic zentai. Spitfire has superhuman speed, which two The Flash series and Daphne Millbrook from Heroes demonstrate is a fun yet relatively affordable power for TV. Instead of dressing exactly like Firestar, she could wear something that evokes a Spitfire aeroplane. At least her name gives the costume department more to work with than The Whizzer.
9. Baron Blood
Speaking of Spitfire and Union Jack, Baron Blood is not only their archenemy but also the black sheep of their family. He's an English aristocrat who gets turned into a vampire and becomes a Nazi collaborator whilst wearing a bizarre costume. A scaled-back version of his costume could be explained as a HYDRA containment suit to protect him from the deadly rays of the sun and help him glide over rooftops. Sadly, the show will probably drop the costume altogether and deliver a fanged fop. Since Marvel Studios refuses to feature anything supernatural until they get around to Dr. Strange even though they could've easily introduced magic in Thor, Baron Blood would probably be an artificial vampire created by science run amuck. So he'd end up being like Morbius the Living Vampire expect Marvel won't have to share the vampire cashgrab with Sony.
8. Red Guardian
With HYDRA retreating after WWII, Agent Carter can start ramping up the Cold War. Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo are Marvel's most famous Communist foes, but it doesn't make sense to introduce them before Iron Man exists. More importantly, power armor is really expensive. Fortunately the Red Guardian, Russia's answer to Captain America and leader of the Winter Guard (that can also appear in the Black Widow film once Marvel realizes that ScarJo has more fans than Ant-Man ever will), is budget friendly. He's just Soviet propaganda incarnate!
Peggy could be sent to sabotage Project Red Room's efforts to win the superhero arms race by enhancing him with bootlegged supersoldier serum. Red Guardian is a legacy hero in the sense that the Kremlin appoints a new mantle-bearer every time the previous one dies or is dishonored. A running joke could feature a different Red Guardian each episode with the explanation that each predecessor was sent to a gulag for failing Mother Russia. ABC can use the money they saved on Red Guardian(s) to hire a trained bear to back him up as his comrade, Ursa Major.
In the wake of two World Wars, it's not unreasonable to consider uniting as a unified world without petty nationalism a solid strategy to avoiding a third. That's Flag-Smasher's noble goal. Sadly he tries to achieve as the leader of a violent terrorist group named ULTIMATUM (Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind). In addition to mopping up HYDRA, and spotlighting the rise of the Soviets, tossing ULTIMATUM into the mix would add to this spy show's much needed political and moral complexity. ULTIMATUM could be a wildcard striking at both the Axis and the Allies.
Not only does he look like Space Ghost, Flag-Smasher lives up to his name by carrying a big mace with which to literally smash flags. Surprisingly, his ULTIMATUM mooks look much more suave than him in their white jackets and berets. The TV show would probably have him pilfer his underlings' wardrobe so he can get the respect denied him in the comics.