|Marvel Cinematic Universe character|
|First appearance||Captain America:|
The Winter Soldier (2014)
|Portrayed by||Emily VanCamp|
|Full name||Sharon Carter|
|Relatives||Peggy Carter (great-aunt)|
Sharon Carter is a fictional character portrayed by Emily VanCamp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film and television franchise based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Carter is portrayed as the great-niece of S.H.I.E.L.D. founder Peggy Carter.
She is portrayed as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent following in the footsteps of her great-aunt, eventually working under the codename Agent 13. Under the orders of Nick Fury, Carter is assigned as an undercover nurse to watch over Steve Rogers, eventually assisting him with taking down S.H.I.E.L.D. which had been infiltrated by Hydra. Carter later joined the CIA, but went on the run after betraying them by assisting Steve Rogers once again in the Civil War. After surviving the Blip, Carter establishes herself as the Power Broker in Madripoor, ruling the city's criminal underworld.
She first appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), being followed with an appearance in Captain America: Civil War (2016). She later starred in the Disney+ television miniseries The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021). VanCamp also appears in the Disney+ animated series What If...? (2021), voicing an alternate version of the character.
Concept and casting
In February 2013, Canadian actress Emily VanCamp entered negotiations to join the cast of Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the female lead. On her casting, in an interview with Nylon magazine, the Russo brothers noted that they "wanted someone that [Steve] would have an immediate interest in". They added that the character also "had to be a strong-willed person" noting VanCamp's work on Revenge.
Some critics voiced opinions about "how thin and slight she seems in photos and on Revenge" but the brothers defended her saying that, "She's obviously very credible with physicality, she holds the screen really well, and she even looks like the character from the comics".
Characterization and appearances
The character Sharon Carter first appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) which was released theatrically on April 4, 2014. Her full name or family history was not revealed in the film due to the character being undercover as Agent 13, a nurse with the alias Kate, protecting Steve Rogers. About her character, VanCamp noted that in the film they're "just sort of introducing her" and "when we first see her, we realize she's living next to Captain America [...] they sort of have a little thing going on and as we all know in the comic books they had a love affair off and on for years. They had a very complicated relationship. It's almost as if they are planting the seeds now. Sort of leaving room to go wherever they want to go with it".
By May 2015, it was announced that VanCamp would reprise her role in the third Captain America instalment, Captain America: Civil War (2016) which was eventually released on April 12, 2016. Until the film's release, the MCU films had not established that Agent 13 was Sharon Carter. Carter's relationship to Peggy was supposed to be explored in the cancelled third season of ABC's Marvel's Agent Carter (2015–2016) where Peggy's long thought to be deceased brother Michael, Sharon's grandfather, would have made an appearance. Despite this, the film established that she was Carter's great-niece and VanCamp teased her expanded role noting that her character "is definitely Team Captain America" and that she "got to do a small fight sequence with Scarlett Johansson".
In the film, after the funeral of Peggy Carter, Rogers grew closer with Sharon Carter after she revealed her identity to him. VanCamp noted that "there are die-hard fans that want to see [Rogers] with different people" and that she hoped fans would be happy with the outcome. Carter works with the CIA (after the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.[a]), under operative Everett K. Ross. She eventually assists Rogers and Sam Wilson by stealing their equipment from the government. While Carter did not fight with 'Team Cap' at the Leipzig/Halle Airport, early concept art of the film placed Carter fighting alongside the Avengers, eventually seemingly being replaced by Wanda Maximoff who was not present in any of the early art. Instead, Carter goes on the run as a fugitive.
Between 2014 and 2016, VanCamp was set to reprise her role in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but was unable to do so due to "scheduling conflicts" with Revenge. In 2016, two new Avengers films were announced to arrive in 2018 and 2019 (eventually being titled Infinity War and Endgame) but Carter was not present in either, despite the film being a union of "the majority of the shared universe's biggest characters in an epic battle against Thanos and his forces". On her absence, VanCamp noted that,
It's hard to fit Sharon into that. She's really in Cap's world [...] I can't say anything about anything, but I will say that you know she sort of fits into the Captain America movies and that's where her story lies.
VanCamp reprised her role in the Disney+ miniseries The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021). At the start of the series, Carter is in a "pretty dark place", and VanCamp noted that she was interested to explore new sides of Carter such as her anger, adding Carter had "a bit more edge" and a "chip on her shoulder". In the series, Carter is revealed as the Power Broker, a mysterious supervillain crime boss who "resorted to a life of crime when she had no other options available" after the events of Captain America: Civil War where she was on the run from the United States government for helping Captain America. TheWrap writer Phil Owen noted that many heroes after the third and fourth Avengers films were pardoned for their crimes (such as Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes), yet Carter was not which he felt was "ridiculous on multiple levels" and that it "tarnishes Steve’s legacy even further". In the series finale's mid-credits scene, Carter was revealed to have turned full villain, contacting buyers about selling secrets from her new government position.
Though the series does not explain much of what Carter went through since she was last seen, co-executive producer Zoie Nagelhout noted that the character had an arc offscreen. Executive producer and writer Malcolm Spellman stated the writers chose not to "be fake" by simply saying she had been in hiding, but rather, since she previously had "a very youthful quality to her", Carter was able to "[grow] up" because of being scorned by the intelligence community. On her new role as a supervillain, VanCamp noted that seeing where Carter has ended up was meant to give "a sense that it hasn't always been easy, and that the sacrifices she's made weren't always worth it in her mind". When VanCamp learned that Carter was the Power Broker, she felt it solidified the version of the character that appears in the series, and called the reveal "very fitting [since] she was hurt and scorned and went rogue". That same year, VanCamp voiced an alternate version of Carter in What If...?.
Differences from the comics
Throughout the mainstream Marvel comics, Sharon Carter was originally introduced as the younger sister of Peggy Carter in Tales of Suspense No. 75 (1966) written by Stan Lee, drawn by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers. She was later retconned into being Peggy's great-niece for continuity purposes. Contrastingly to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Captain America has had a relationship with Carter "that has survived break-ups, dimensional divides, and even death and resurrection". Despite this difference, in the comics Carter was still inspired by Peggy and is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
One of the biggest differences from the comics is that in the MCU, Carter, who is also known as the Power Broker, is a villain. In the mainstream comics, the Power Broker is typically someone named Curtiss Jackson who trades securities and assets and hires a scientist named Dr. Karl Malus to give super-strength for his clients. Two of these clients included Battlestar and U.S. Agent. Jackson was known for being dishonest with his clients by subjecting them to medical procedures they did not sign up for and giving them hardcore addictive substances to cause them to keep "coming back to him and paying for treatments".
Additionally, during the Civil War comic storyline, Carter was as supporter of the Superhuman Registration Act which causes strain on her and Rogers' relationship; in the MCU, Carter is an avid member of 'Team Cap', helping him fight against the Sokovia Accords.
Fictional character biography
Sharon Carter was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, granddaughter of Michael Carter. Growing up, Carter admired her great-aunt, Peggy Carter, who helped found the intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. Peggy bought Carter her first thigh holster and despite protests from her mother, Carter joined the agency. While working at S.H.I.E.L.D., Carter did not tell anyone about her relation to Peggy due to feeling that she could not live up to her great-aunt's legacy.
Fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Sometime in 2014, Carter is assigned by the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, to monitor and protect Steve Rogers / Captain America in his home apartment. She uses the alias Kate to observe Rogers, report back to Fury and ensure that Rogers is stable after being found in the ice a few year prior.
After Rogers is declared a fugitive by S.H.I.E.L.D. secretary Alexander Pierce, Carter goes to work in the Triskelion, reluctantly agreeing to help hunt him down. When Rogers exposes Hydra's plot with Project Insight, Carter watches as another agent is threatened by Brock Rumlow to launch the project. She reacts by pulling a gun on him, affirming herself to Captain America, and fights Rumlow off. After S.H.I.E.L.D. is dismantled, Carter joins the CIA and works at the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre, alongside Everett K. Ross.
Sokovia Accords and fugitive
In 2016, Carter attends her great-aunt Peggy's funeral and gives a moving eulogy where she reveals her family heritage for the first time. Rogers and Carter reunite after the funeral when the news about the bombing that occurred at the signing of the Sokovia Accords becomes public. Roger's best friend Bucky Barnes is accused. Carter updates Rogers about the search for Barnes noting that there is an order to shoot him on sight.
Rogers, Barnes, Sam Wilson, and T'Challa are eventually bought to the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre after being arrested and are greeted by Carter and Ross. After a brainwashed Barnes breaks out of his cell with the help of his acting therapist, Helmut Zemo, Carter teams up with the Avengers, Natasha Romanoff and Tony Stark, to fight Barnes, who overpowers all three and consequently escapes with the help of Rogers and Wilson. Carter retrieves their equipment for them subsequently betraying the government and proceeds to go on the run.
Becoming the Power Broker
In 2018, Carter survives the Blip despite initially believing to be dead. Over the next eight years, Carter moves to Madripoor and achieves a powerful status and becomes known as the Power Broker, Madripoor's criminal underworld secretive ruler, through her business as a black market art dealer. She also learned about Wilfred Nagel's work on replicating the Super Soldier Serum and provides him with the resources to successfully synthesize the serum. Additionally, Carter takes in teenage Karli Morgenthau who subsequently betrays her and steals twenty vials of the serum, using one on herself and the rest on her anti-nationalist terrorist group the Flag Smashers. Carter promises to track and kill her.
Aiding Wilson and Barnes
In 2024, Wilson, Barnes and Zemo travel to Madripoor for a lead on the Flag Smashers but are inadvertently framed for the death of a high-ranking criminal causing bounty hunters to come after them. Carter helps them escape the hunters, taking them to her art gallery. She uses her connections to help the three find Nagel who is then killed by Zemo. After a fight breaks out between the four and other bounty hunters, Carter decides to stay behind in Madripoor but Wilson agrees to obtain a pardon for her so she can return to the United States.
Rejoining the government
Carter secretly travels to New York to help Wilson and Barnes once more save the Global Repatriation Council (GRC) from the Flag Smashers' attack. In the hustle of the attack, Carter separates Morgenthau from the others and confronts her about betraying her. Batroc overhears them and attempts to blackmail Carter, but is killed by her. Wilson, the new Captain America also comes to reason with Morgenthau who had just shot Carter, causing Wilson to plea with her. Before Morgenthau can kill Wilson, the wounded Carter shoots her, not wanting any loose ends on her status as the Power Broker.
After the events of GRC attack, Carter is fully pardoned by the U.S. government and is reinstated to her former position in the CIA. She calls an unknown person over the phone to line buyers up for government secrets.
An alternate version of Carter appears in the animated series What If...?, with VanCamp reprising her role.
In an alternate 2018, Carter is among the survivors of a Quantum virus outbreak which turned most of Earth's population into zombies. She, alongside Hope van Dyne, Peter Parker, Bucky Barnes, Okoye, Bruce Banner, Kurt, and Happy Hogan, leave their base in New York City and travel to Camp Lehigh where a cure is said to be in development. Carter is soon ambushed and infected by a zombified Steve Rogers. Resurfacing as a zombie herself, Carter is blown up by Van Dyne, but not before she infects her.
VanCamp's role as Sharon Carter has received praise with TheThings writer noting that she had "great presence in the MCU" before being seemingly disappearing from the franchise. Carter's reveal as the Power Broker received generally mixed reviews with many praising VanCamp's acting transition from Carter into the Power Broker but some calling it "predictable and unsatisfying". Rolling Stone writer praised VanCamp's acting ability noting that she "does well with the bigger showcase and with playing a much more cynical Sharon than the one who flirted with Steve in the movies". Deadline writer Anthony D'Alessandro also praised VanCamp's acting but noted that the reveal did not make much sense; however, he received the cliffhanger post-credits scene with praise, calling it "intriguing". Comic Book Resources writer Timothy Donohoo wrote that Carter's transition into the "villainous Power Broker" was "poorly done". He felt that the "development came out of nowhere" and that "audiences didn't receive a true reason for her motives". Conversely, Mediaversity writer Li felt that Carter was "reborn" on the show "as a character with grit and independence".
|2016||Captain America: Civil War||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Liplock (with Chris Evans)||Nominated|||
- as depicted in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
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