Avengers-Peggy in cafe

But wait, there's more

So apparently this is what happens when you deprive me of Internet for a week and a half. POSTAPALOOZA!

Since I've been thinking about Peggy & co's future lately, let's talk about the MCU future timeline and how it relates to the Agent Carter characters as they age.

To some extent my AC fic is basically taking place in a headcanon AU of my own devising. I haven't watched enough of Agents of SHIELD to avoid canon slip-ups if I deal with SHIELD's future too much, and I don't really want to deal with certain parts of it (like, we know Hank and Janet were active on the superhero scene by the 1960s or the 1970s at the latest, which means they had fully functional shrinking suits -- and for me, the AC 'verse isn't really a superhero 'verse; it's a Cold War spy 'verse). So basically, my fic is taking place in a one-step-away-from-canon 'verse that never quite engages with superheroes if I can avoid it; not that they definitively don't have that future (one of the things I like about AC, actually, is the doomed-tragic aspect of knowing how most of them end up), but rather that I just don't really want to put larger-than-life Marvel superheroes and AC characters into the same fic. They don't really fit together.

But I'm interested in the idea of figuring out how to work characters like a young Alexander Pierce or Obadiah Stane into the future AC 'verse. I was considering the idea that partnering with Stane might have had something to do with Howard really going off the rails. We know that in the 1940s he backed away from making weapons, after the Midnight Oil incident; he's haunted by guilt for the people who died in the weapon's field test. So how did he get from there, to large-scale weapons manufacturing a few decades later? But I'm not sure if Stane actually had that much influence at the company early on. Plus, I don't really want to take all culpability away from Howard; though I do like him, it's much too tidy to say that Stane was largely responsible for the way Stark Industries ended up going. Howard's slide to the darkside isn't something he gets to wash his hands of. Stane might have helped tug him that way, though.

And then there's Pierce. One of my various non-canon-based bits of future speculation is that Jack goes into politics later on -- that he ends up as a Senator or something, not necessarily for the rest of his career, but for awhile. So it's actually very plausible that he might've run into Pierce early in Pierce's career with the State Department. Plus, once Pierce became involved with SHIELD's oversight and management, then Peggy would have known him and worked with him ... though I'm still considering when they might have actually met. (I don't think we know exactly when the hostage crisis involving his family canonically took place, do we?) If we take Pierce as roughly the age of the actor playing him, Redford was born in 1936 according to imdb, so Pierce could've been getting his start in politics as early as the late 1950s.

(Unpleasant thought: Peggy or Jack actually mentored him.)

This entry is also posted at http://sholio.dreamwidth.org/1097427.html with comment count unavailable comments.
Oooo, Howard meta!

I've reflected a lot about Howard. My own personal sort-of headcanon for him (which is influenced greatly by what I WANT to be true, but hey, it's fiction, so I can do that!), is that he didn't end up as bad of a person -- as "dark side", to borrow your phrase -- as he's portrayed in the modern MCU. What I like to believe is that he wasn't a bad person, but instead that he was a complex person, and a terrible father.

I haven't watched any of the movies more than a few times (and some just once, and some er... not at all yet), so maybe there's stuff that would contradict this. But my impression(?) is that most of what we know about Howard in the present comes from Tony, who is not exactly unbiased. It seems to me that Tony sort of frames all of Howard's weapons manufacturing and later decision making through the lens of his fractious familial memories.

But I think going back into weapons manufacturing could be explained in a way that isn't that he became terrible -- people have really complex reasons for working on weapons manufacturing; I mean, just look at the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project. And as superpowers started to be a thing, changing the world power balance... I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can totally believe there were complex reasons behind him going back to that. Also, Howard is much like Tony in that he likes to build things just because they're there, so I can also imagine various technological challenges tempting him into further rationalization.

I can also easily believe that he and Tony had a terrible relationship and that Howard was a terrible parent. He's an incredibly flawed character, which is one of the things I love about him. But I guess I don't see him being an awful, awful parent as necessarily equivalent with him being a bad person (though obviously horrible for poor young Tony).

Erm, it's possible all this is jossed by something I'm forgetting and/or a movie I haven't seen yet and/or SHIELD which I also haven't seen and/or the comics which I haven't read....

Editing to add: I haven't seen Civil War yet, which it seems might... have shed some light... on later Howard. Dammit, now I think I've spoiled myself for something in it. *facepalm*

p.s. -- Was also glad to read your post on gen. :) Glad you've come to a peaceful place on it!

Edited at 2016-07-30 10:01 am (UTC)
Thank you for your comments on the previous gen post, btw!

And, yeah ... I think one of the reasons why Agent Carter has sucked me in so hard in a fannish way is because I really do love the complexity of characters changing over time, and the way that characters seen through different people's eyes can be so different -- I really liked that about the new Star Wars movie, too, that these idealistic kids from the previous movies ended up as mediocre parents whose lives were falling apart around them. Er, which sounds horribly depressing phrased that way, but basically I agree with you that in the MCU movies, we only get Tony's impressions of his father, and Tony resents the hell out of Howard, so he understandably sees him in a negative light, whereas the reality is more complex. And I really love that.

I flippantly said "darkside" above, but actually I agree with you that it's not nearly that simple. The movies generally seem to be taking the position that weapons manufacturing = evil, but I don't agree (at least not nearly to the extreme that the Iron Man series takes it), and I can totally see Howard moving in that direction because of a combination of scientific interest and desire to make money, which seems to be the things that motivate most of what he does. One commenter on the DW side suggested that Howard might also have been motivated by practical, SHIELD-related issues -- that SHIELD was only able to develop the weapons that it did if the government, say, also had access to the tech. For that matter, even if Howard was ONLY developing weapons for SHIELD, that's some pretty high-tech and destructive stuff they have, and it's not very likely that Howard wouldn't turn around and try to make some money on the side by selling it to other parties; developing stuff solely for SHIELD would most likely be a money-losing proposition for him.

tl;dr ... it's complicated. :D
Yes! Totally agree with all this.

I really liked that about the new Star Wars movie, too, that these idealistic kids from the previous movies ended up as mediocre parents whose lives were falling apart around them. Er, which sounds horribly depressing phrased that way,

No, no, I get it! I completely agree. I thought that aspect of TFA was really well done, too!

And yeah... I love complicated people as characters. They're just... so much more interesting. ^_^
Here be SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War
Howard is hard for me to figure out. As you say, he had all that guilt from Midnight Oil, and yet he clearly got back into the weapons business, and there's that scene in Civil War—how do I say this without a spoiler? I think I can't.



In the ridiculously convenient footage* of the Winter Soldier killing Howard, he apologizes to Bucky first. He clearly recognizes him, but he doesn't try to appeal to Bucky, so it seems that he knows full well who and what the Winter Soldier is and contributed to making him that way. He knows he's programmed and has no hope that an appeal to his memories will work.

I can't figure out how Howard could get from mourning Steve to any kind of involvement with the people who turned Bucky into the Winter Soldier. He should have been shocked if he recognized him at all. I wanted him to be shocked. I can't get past that.

* Why the frell would there be a camera at that out-of-the-way place that Winter Soldier chose to kill them at all? And even if I grant that there were cameras, why did they have audio? I could not suspend my disbelief at a crucial moment, which annoyed the heck out of me.



I'd really like to see you make more sense of Howard than I can!
Re: Here be SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War
* Why the frell would there be a camera at that out-of-the-way place that Winter Soldier chose to kill them at all? And even if I grant that there were cameras, why did they have audio? I could not suspend my disbelief at a crucial moment, which annoyed the heck out of me.

hahaha, yes. Especially in the early '90s. I could see it more easily now, with so many cities and towns having cameras everywhere; it could've been a traffic cam on a particularly dangerous corner or something like that. But I don't think that kind of thing was anywhere near as prevalent in 1992 or whenever exactly it was. I think they even had different camera angles in that scene, for extra WTF.

Anyway, I don't have a good explanation for Howard's reaction to Bucky. I really didn't think anyone in SHIELD knew Bucky = Winter Soldier. Nick Fury actually says he didn't (to Steve, when they're hiding in the secret bolt hole under the dam in Winter Soldier), and if it was ANYWHERE in SHIELD's intel, you'd think he of all people would have known. Which makes me think it's a continuity error -- that they weren't supposed to know in CA:TWS, and either they still aren't supposed to know in CA:CW (and Howard is simply apologizing for everything) or that changed between movies.

It's also possible that Howard and Peggy knew, but literally no one else did -- that they found out at some point, but kept it strictly between themselves, a shared and private grief.

Even if Howard knew all along, he isn't working with HYDRA, though, is he? He's basically developing tech for his own purposes. I don't remember off the top of my head what he was supposed to be doing with the serum samples he had in his trunk, but I don't think it was HYDRA-related; rather, it was an attempt to recreate the Super Soldier program for SHIELD. (I think.)

Edited at 2016-08-01 06:55 am (UTC)