Golly gosh was the season-one finale of Agent Carter high on action and emotions, mister. And if you stuck around right until the very end, the show managed to take us by surprise with an unexpected twist: a cameo appearance by a Captain America character last seen in Winter Soldier.
SHOW SPOILERS AHEAD
When the SSR took Dr. Fenhoff/Ivchenko (Ralph Brown) -- who, as it turned out, was well-established Marvel character Dr. Faustus -- into custody, he met his new cellmate, who was ... Captain America’s Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones). How did they pull this off? And why? Captain America writers and Agent Carter creators Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely talked about how it all came together in a lengthy and interesting interview with Entertainment Weekly, revealing how the idea to have Toby Jones appear in the finale came about. Here's what McFeely said:
“We’ve wanted Toby Jones to appear since we pitched this show. We did not know exactly where it would happen or where he was on his timeline, but we always wanted to show you how Hydra started its [reach within S.H.I.E.L.D.]”
With Christopher Markus adding:
“People having seen [Captain America:] Winter Soldier know what happens to S.H.I.E.L.D., so we didn’t want to deal with that as a plot point because it’s a given, but just to give them a delicious little taste of the story that they know happen. Also, it has become clear weirdly that there are four characters who span the entire marvel Cinematic Universe: Steve, Bucky (Sebastian Stan), Peggy and Zola. We wanted to see Toby’s body again.”
Yeah, because last we saw Zola in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we only saw the little man’s "head" in that pretty old computer -- you know, aside from those little bits of flashbacks. McFeely revealed who it was who had the idea to put Toby Jones Zola in jail in the first place:
“It was [showrunners] Tara Butters and Michelle Fazekas who decided to put him in jail. We said, “Let’s have him!” and they figured out where to put him.”
Stephen McFeely also confirmed that Zola’s appearance was their way of saying that all this was leading to the Winter Soldier program, since Dr. Faustus works on mind control, saying: “Yes, I think it is safe to say there is a connection.” Christopher Marcus expanded a bit more on the subject:
“It’s a bit of a convoluted timeline in that in the first Captain America, Zola was captured in the same mission where Bucky fell off the train. Theoretically, a division of Hydra—possibly a Russian division of Hydra—went and got the body while Zola was in custody. Zola had already done something to Bucky, and experimented on him that made him beyond human, which allowed him to survive the fall and make him worth doing the research on. They kept him in stasis until Zola was able to have a little bit of freedom from the American government, at which point he maybe brought his new friend Johann Fennhoff to handle the mind control part of the Winter Soldier project.”
“That’s how we see it,” McFeely added. “I’m not positive that is gospel at the moment, but that’s how we sleep at night.” The Captain America writer then added a bit of intriguing news about the appearance of Arnim Zola in that last Cap flick:
“Zola wasn’t always going to be in Winter Soldier, but we needed a good way to have this exposition dump in the middle of the movie. We love Toby Jones and thought that would be a great idea. When we got the chance to do the television show, we wanted Toby Jones in that, too.”
McFeely and Markus were asked if they had considered some other, alternate endings when it came to Zola and Dr. Faustus, with Markus revealing the real debate was actually when Zola’s involvement with S.H.I.E.L.D. came about:
“The debate is when he went from prisoner to collaborator. In 1946, he was probably still a prisoner, but there was some debate of what side of the bars he’s on.”
Markus and McFeely also teased what would happen in a potential season two, saying they’d love to delve in Peggy’s backstory, i.e. what makes Peggy Peggy, in the words of McFeely. “Why is she that way? We have some thoughts on that.”
What did you guys think of Toby Jones’ awesome cameo as Arnim Zola on Marvel’s Agent Carter? Do you want to see a second season of the Marvel series?