It only took one episode beyond her introduction for Peggy Carter’s new neighbor, Dottie (Bridget Regan) to show she had some huge secrets on Marvel’s Agent Carter – as she quickly and effortlessly killed the dangerous Mr. Mink.
So how does Dottie have these skills? We have the answer, straight from the show's executive producers. Ready to hear it?
One last warning if you want to look away…
Alright, if you’re still with us, here goes! As some suspected might be the case, especially given the specific fighting style she used, Dottie is indeed a product of the Black Widow Program – or at least the program that will become Black Widow. Yes, before Natasha Romanoff would prove how formidable she was in the present day of the Marvel films, other women received the same training from Russia – and Dottie is here to represent that in Agent Carter’s 1946 setting.
I spoke to Agent Carter’s showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas to find out more about Dottie, Black Widow and how this big element of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to be expanded upon on the series. We also discussed the other big reveal this week – that Howard Stark has the last remaining sample of Steve Rogers’ blood – and more.
IGN: It is safe to say that Dottie is a Black Widow?
Michele Fazekas: That’s correct! She is a product of the Black Widow Program.
Tara Butters: But we, in the series, are not actually calling her a Black Widow.
Fazekas: Yeah, we actually never say Black Widow, but people who know about it… You’ll learn even more about it and her history in the next episode.
IGN: Let me get the second big question out of the way that comic book fans familiar with Black Widow’s history have wondered. Might Dottie also go by the name Yelena Belova?
IGN: Okay. So just Dottie for now?
Butters: She’s Dottie for now. And the fact is, the great and exciting thing for us is we’re showing the precursor to the Black Widow Program, as you will see in the upcoming episode, 105.
IGN: How was the decision made that this would be a part of the show and how it would be a part of the show?
Fazekas: It’s interesting, [Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely, who wrote the pilot, had always had this general idea of Peggy will go to Russia on a mission, and so that was an early idea…
Butters: Basically we had a mini-boot camp and it was Markus, McFeely, Michele and I and Chris [Dingess], and as we were breaking out the season, we realized we needed a foil for Peggy that was a female foil and that’s kind of how we came up with Dottie. As we started to create her we realized there was this interesting connection we could be making.
Fazekas: We weren’t sure how much Marvel would want to do that, how much they would allow us because you’re essentially creating new canon about a character.
Butter: You’re filling in a background for this world.
Fazekas: Scarlett Johansson's character is of that sort of world. We didn’t know how much they’d be willing to let us play with that but they were very on board from the beginning. They thought it was cool.
Butters: Basically Dottie is the product of a Russian spy program which could end up being the Black Widow program.
IGN: Like the SSR becoming SHIELD?
Butters: Yeah, that’s actually a great way to look at it.
IGN: Obviously the MCU is not an exact replica of the comic books, nor could it be - Natasha, for instance, was a baby in the 1940s in the comics. But this does fit, in its own way, because the Black Widow program is supposed to have been around for that long too, so did this just feel like a way to adapt that idea for the MCU?
Butters: I think the fun thing about our period of time in the MCU is we have the ability to help draw connections without actually interfering or stepping on anything that’s going on currently. But it really is actually kind of fun to make the world smaller. You know, the idea that Peggy could be having this interaction with Dottie and that same Russian, spy program could end up turning into the Black Widow program, which, obviously, the current characters are dealing with today. That’s been a really fun challenge, to connect the world without stepping on the world.
IGN: What can you say about Dottie’s plan, her agenda and what her next move is? We saw her kill this one guy but what now?
Fazekas: What she did in the last episode was she killed that guy because he was going to kill her. But it’s not a coincidence that she’s in the Griffith and she does have a part in the larger story of the whole season. We can’t really say. I think it’s all going to be revealed. I feel like if we reveal anything now it’ll be too much of a spoiler but she’s definitely a big part of Peggy’s overall investigation.
Butters: There are so many fun things that come up to her. She’s a fantastic character and Bridget Regan is awesome. We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg with her.
IGN: Should we assume that these other Russian agents that have been popping up are directly tied to her?
Fazekas: I would not say directly. I would say it’s not a coincidence. They’re all playing in the same sandbox.
IGN: At the moment, we have information that Peggy doesn’t. She just thinks Dottie’s the nice girl next door. How soon might that change?
Butters: The nice thing about having eight episodes is things change pretty quickly and the amount of story we tell in these four episodes is a lot and it’s a great ride. I have to say, as someone who would watch the show whether I was working on it or not, we just barrel to the end. There are so many things that happen in the next four episodes that I just think fans are going to be really excited.
Fazekas: The challenge for Peggy is is she going to find out about her in time? And I think the answer to that is… not really.
IGN: What you say about the eight episodes is notable. We met Dottie and the next episode we immediately got this reveal of her, which probably wouldn’t happen if you had many more episodes. Does that all kind of go together with the fact that you’re going to deliver pretty quickly on the setups in this series?
Butters: We’re very active on Twitter and social media and fans are so savvy nowadays and keeping certain reveals for too long, they just get annoyed with you. So I mean, I feel like, especially with eight episodes, it made sense to kind of roll these out.
Fazekas: When we were talking about the larger story of the season, we toyed with, “Can we keep this a secret for longer?” But when we’re talking about this big picture stuff, you don’t get any benefit from keeping the secret longer. Why not have fun with it now?
IGN: Your other big reveal last night was Howard Stark hiding Captain America’s blood. Going forward, how integral will that be to the final four episodes and the fact that this is a coveted item?
Fazekas: I would say it comes back in a big way.
IGN: Similar to my Black Widow question, how did you come up with the idea to use Cap’s blood in the storyline?
Fazekas: It was very late in the process. It was one of those things where we knew that Howard was hiding something. We started with, “Howard’s got an alternate agenda.” We didn’t really know much beyond that. We didn’t originally think that SSR would have custody of all of Howard Stark’s stuff so early in the process - but they get it all in episode three. So then it was like, maybe it’s one of those things that Howard wants Peggy to get… But it was very late in the process. We were like, “He wants something and we’ll figure out what that something is,” and we tabled that for a long time. I think it was the writing staff, when they came up with Steve Roger’s blood… It was sort of a perfect thing because it wasn’t just he wants this cool piece of technology. It was something that had such an emotional connection for Peggy and everything fell into place after that.
Butters: This goes to a question we get asked at every interview, which is how involved is Marvel Studios and Marvel TV and have they pushed us in any directions. And I would say they’ve never pushed us in any directions but what they’ve done, which has been really, really remarkable for us, is when we come to them with these big ideas… Because it is a big idea to go and say, “What if it’s the last remaining sample of [Captain America’s] blood and can we put that in the show?” They’ve been so excited about these ideas and so supportive. Us showing Dottie as a precursor to the Black Widow Program, Captain America’s blood, these are big things in this universe that they’re willing to let us play with.
IGN: In the comics, the Winter Soldier would pop up through the decades and have this romantic relationship with Black Widow - with Natasha. So now I’m thinking, “What if he had a romantic relationship with Dottie?” in this version. I know you can’t give me a specific yes or no on something like that happening, but does your mind go to those places too just because you do have such a canvas to work with?
Fazekas: All things are possible. [Laughs] I would say, yes, your mind goes everywhere. We certainly can’t reveal anything about that.
IGN: Let’s talk about next week’s episode and Peggy being sent on this mission with the Howling Commandos. What’s especially notable of course is her being sent on a mission at all by the SSR.
Fazekas: That is actually a very big moment in her relationship with Dooley; the fact that she’s even being sent out as a field agent. You get the sense that this is the first time she’s actually been trusted. It’s a big reflection of Dooley, I think. You see Dooley has developed… Even in last night’s episode, where he’s not simply blindly saying “Howard Stark’s a bad guy.” He’s smart enough to know that there’s something else going on here we’re not being told. He sees this cover up. So that I think is more of how Dooley’s character is developing and it’s a very nice sort of development in his relationship with Peggy.
Butters: I know at certain points people felt that the sexism in the office was…
Fazekas: …over the top.
Butters: I actually don’t think it was.
Fazekas: I think it’s over the top for our standards, but I think, for 1946, it’s probably, “Yeah, that’s what people talked about.”
Butters: You see how, in [episode] 105, her relationship with Jack Thompson changes and her relationship with Dooley changes and even Sousa. All of them look at her in a very different way by the end of that episode.
Fazekas: It’s a real pivotal episode as far as everyone in SSR’s relationship with her, in ways that you might not expect.
IGN: And we’ll be seeing more of what Dottie’s up to as well?
Butters: Oh yeah. She has a very fun scene.
IGN: Now that this reveal has happened with Dottie, I’m very scared for Angie. You know my love for Angie!
Fazekas: Angie’s a smart girl. Angie knows what’s up. So don’t worry about her.
In : Projects
Tags: "bridget regan" "agent carter" "spoilers" "dottie underwood" "black widow"
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