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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a sweeping, interconnected world, which means characters can come and go freely. One specific hero that we haven't seen in a few years is none other than Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter, who remains a fan favorite following her 2011 debut in Captain America: The First Avenger. That raises essential questions about whether or not the late Peggy (who died in Captain America: Civil War) could return at some point. In fact, when asked about the possibility of a return to the MCU as Peggy Carter, Atwell played coy and suggested it as a possibility. The actress said:
Because it's a genre-specific superhero piece, I'm sure anything could happen. It's such a huge world. I do think there's something in the completion of the fact that they're doing their back-to-back Avengers at the moment, which will complete an era, so I can't see how that would be. But that's what's remarkable about Marvel is they keep going. Each film tends to further what they're doing, so I wouldn't rule it out.
So while Hayley Atwell doesn't actually specify whether or not Peggy Carter will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point, she does note that it's a possibility. Peggy has one of the longest tenures of any hero in the entire MCU (which was only briefly touched on in her short-lived ABC series), so there are decades of stories that the folks at Marvel could mine if they really want to. As Marvel pushes forward into the future and carves out new stories, it creates new opportunities to re-introduce Peggy.
Another thing worth acknowledging about Hayley Atwell's recent remarks to Parade is the fact that some upcoming movies could easily let Peggy Carter return. We know that Captain Marvel will take place in the 1990s, which means we could see Peggy's later years as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. Beyond that, with the upcoming release of Ant-Man and The Wasp, it's also possible that Peggy could pop up in a flashback cameo appearance, not unlike how she showed up in the opening of the original Ant-Man.
Then, of course, there's also the fact that we may see Peggy show up during the events of either Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers 4. There has been no official confirmation that she will appear when Thanos (Josh Brolin) comes to Earth in his quest for the Infinity Stones, but between the presence of the Time Stone, as well as the possibility of her showing up in another dream sequence (a la Avengers: Age of Ultron), there are plenty of possibilities worth exploring. After all, there's an argument to be made that you can't "complete an era" without bringing Peggy into the equation.
After all of this, we still don't know if Peggy Carter will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it's clear that there's a vocal segment of the fanbase that wants to see it happen. The MCU will come together for its most prominent and most explosive outing yet later this month when Avengers: Infinity War debuts in theaters on April 27.