By Anthony Breznican
July 11, 2013 at 04:00 PM EDT
Advertisement
Katrin Marchinowski

How about if we leak a little CLASSIFIED information?

Marvel Studios co-president and short-filmmaking impresario Louis D’Esposito has opened the secret file on the latest “One-Shot” film Agent Carter, and EW has the exclusive look at the retro-comic poster and three images from the movie, which will debut at Comic-Con next Friday.

As the title suggests, the latest in Marvel’s short-film series explores the post-Captain America heroics of British operative Peggy Carter. Hayley Atwell (TV’s The Pillars of the Earth) reprises her role as an analyst with the nascent S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve.) They do things like, you know, build super-soldiers, fight evil, and go in search of the enigmatic “Zodiac.”

Agent Carter is in on the ground floor — but looking up at a glass ceiling.

Click through for more details from D’Esposito, and a look at each of the new images from the movie — along with details on how to be among the first to see it at Comic-Con.

Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until Sept. 24 when the short turns up on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray release.

Click through each page for a different Agent Carter photo:

For more Comic-Con news:

Marvel’s shorts have grown into a big deal.

Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger ordered up the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after watching last year’s One-Shot, Item 47 — a heist comedy featuring Maximiliano Hernández’s Agent Sitwell in pursuit of a couple (Lizzy Caplan and Jesse Bradford) who’ve figured out how to operate one of the leftover alien guns from The Avengers.

Also directed by D’Esposito, Item 47 was a major expansion of the previous straight-to-DVD shorts the company had commissioned, featuring Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson.

Agent Carter is another leap forward for the series, which is now delving into classic characters from the comic books … inching ever closer to utilizing some of Marvel’s superheroes. (More on that later.)

“First of all it’s a period piece. You have three fight scenes as opposed to Item 47, where we just had basically one action scene,” says D’Esposito. “We had five days – one more day than we did on Item 47 but I think it’s double in size. And also the visual style of it, that requires time. So there was pressure on us. I have people looking over my shoulder, looking at the watch saying, ‘Come on, you’re costing us a lot of money!’”

Usually that’s D’Esposito’s job. “I’m saying, ‘No, it’s fine, we can go a couple more hours here!’”

Agent Carter was one of three ideas the studio was considering in its short series. Item 47 went first because it tied directly into the aftermath of The Avengers, and Agent Carter got the greenlight because it serves as connective thread between Iron Man 3 — since it features Dominic Cooper as Tony Stark’s father — and the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

“Not everyone can be frozen in ice from that period,” D’Esposito jokes. “So it was: How do we tell another Hayley Atwell story?”

Here’s how …

“It’s a year since Cap plunged into the ocean,” D’Esposito says. “And in our mind, we said there’s a few SSR offices. If you want to relate it to now, it’s like the OSS, the precursor to the CIA. The SSR is the precursor to S.H.I.E.L.D. There’s some satellite offices in New York and right now their primary concern is getting Zodiac.”

What’s Zodiac? A key, a person … a MacGuffin that just kicks the action into gear?

“Zodiac in the books has been many many different things,” D’Esposito says. “We just want you to know it’s deadly, it’s important, bad guys are guarding it, and it’s imperative she gets it.”

Of course, Agent Carter has more than just bad guys to deal with. The good guys are standing in her way, too.

Agent Carter is also battling a sexist, bureaucratic boss Agent Flynn (The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford), who thinks women have no place in the secret agent business.

“He knows her background but insults her by saying the only reason why she’s gotten anywhere is because she was the girlfriend of Captain America,” says D’Esposito. “We know that’s not true, but he’s intentionally suppressing her and not allowing her to go on a mission when the opportunity arises.”

She does have some supporters. Cooper reprises his role as Tony Stark’s father, Howard Stark, an industrialist and weapons manufacturer who helped found S.H.I.E.L.D. (You can expect some other surprise cameos from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we won’t spoil them for you now.)

Eventually, Carter figures out  a way around Flynn and his old-boys club and sets out to follow a lead on Zodiac.

“She proves that the best man for the job was a woman,” D’Esposito says.

NEXT PAGE:

Last year at Comic-Con, the studio set up a scavenger hunt through San Diego’s Gaslamp quarter that led to tickets for Item 47. Once again, Marvel will be premiering Agent Carter at an as-yet-undisclosed location.

There won’t be the same tantalizing trail of breadcrumbs to follow, but fans should just stop by the Marvel booth inside the Comic-Con convention hall to see if tickets and theater details are available. And keep that Friday night free.

D’Esposito and Co. have consistently been asked when the One-Shots will begin exploring its bench of superheroes, and they’ve consistently said it’s not likely to happen. But … they’re getting closer.

“We are,” D’Esposito acknowledges. “And I keep saying it — set the bar higher, let’s try it.”

In the image above, Agent Carter is using her mirror to peer around the corner to find the bad guys.

Now we have some hint that Marvel is looking around the corner in search of some good ones.

Comments

EDIT POST