The Marvel Cinematic Universe just got a bit tidier!
The second most popular butler in all of comics will soon make his live-action debut as a cast member on Marvel’s midseason period piece drama, “Agent Carter.” Edwin Jarvis, longtime butler for both the Stark family and the Avengers, will star alongside Hayley Atwell in Peggy Carter’s upcoming television series. British actor James D’Aarcy will portray a younger version of the character on the series.
If the name “Jarvis” sounds familiar to Marvel movie fans, that’s no doubt because the comic book butler inspired the A.I. that Tony Stark interacts with in the “Iron Man” trilogy. J.A.R.V.I.S. has been voiced by Paul Bettany in every one of its appearances, a role that will evolve into Bettany’s portrayal of the Avenger named Vision in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” So far in the MCU, there has been no mention of the human Jarvis, an oversight D’Arcy’s casting rectifies. Now, all of our questions are not about when Jarvis will debut in the MCU, but which Jarvis he will be. Place your bets on one — or all — of the following.
World War II Vet
Don’t let his fastidious appearance fool you — this butler has seen his fair share of action! During World War II, the Brooklyn born teen ran away to Canada and enlisted with the Royal Air Force. He fought for England against the Nazis, which is where he traded his Brooklyn accent in for a British one. While with the RAF, Jarvis proved himself amongst the older soldiers by becoming the three-time RAF boxing champ. Considering “Agent Carter’s” post-WWII setting, odds are we’ll see a lot more brawler than butler in James D’Arcy’s Jarvis.
Captain America’s Confidant
Starting with his proper comic debut in 1964’s “Tales of Suspense” #59, Jarvis became known as Tony Stark’s — and the Avengers’ — butler. The Avenger he waited on the most, though, was Captain America. At this time, Cap had just re-entered the world after being thawed out of a deep freeze. His kid sidekick was dead and the world around him had changed. He was alone — except for Jarvis.
As the rest of Earth’s Mightiest went off to tend to their private lives, the lonely Steve Rogers would often be left in the mansion to flip through old newspaper clippings and photo albums. Jarvis would serve Steve coffee, offering support and company where needed. Since then, Cap has often vouched for Jarvis and called him as much of an Avenger as any other member of the team. Unfortunately, this aspect of the character might never make it to the big or small screen. MCU Cap is already on ice when “Agent Carter” picks up, and Jarvis has been absent for all of Steve’s modern-day appearances. Still, Jarvis’ compassionate heart could be a key part of D’Arcy’s character.
There’s a lot more to being the Avengers’ butler than just keeping the fridge stocked with mead. Sometimes you have to be a superhero yourself, and Jarvis has risen to that calling on numerous occasions. In “Avengers” #298, he saved dozens of New Yorkers from demonically possessed subway cars, phone booths and buildings. When the Avengers’ island Hydrobase sank in “Avengers” #311, Jarvis arrived in a Quinjet just in time to evacuate the island’s support staff.
Of course, he’s also suffered a number of horrible defeats; the Circus of Crime gagged him and tied him up just before Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne’s wedding in “Avengers” #60, and the butler sustained permanent injuries after being attacked by the Masters of Evil in “Avengers” #274. After each of these attacks, the bravest thing that Jarvis could do was return to work — and he did so, every single time. We’ll most likely see Jarvis’ bravery in “Agent Carter,” and we should — the guy’s as determined as any super-powered hero.
Aunt May’s Beau
When Peter Parker’s home was blown to bits, he moved into Avengers Tower — along with his Aunt May and wife Mary Jane. May and Jarvis hit it off immediately upon first meeting in “Amazing Spider-Man” #519. Jarvis finally had another (relatively) normal person to talk to, and one in his own age bracket! The two grew close during Spider-Man’s stay in the Tower, and began to date. When May was hospitalized following an attack, Jarvis personally delivered the check to pay for all of her medical bills.
Of course, no one in superhero comics can have a happy ending — not even the supporting cast. A deal with the devil restored Spider-Man’s secret identity, meaning that Aunt May never learned of her nephew’s extracurricular activities, and thus never moved into Avengers Tower and met Jarvis. Still, the old butler finally got to have a real romance — although it might be difficult to squeeze in romance for Jarvis during “Agent Carter’s” brief first season.
Secret Invasion Survivor
As if removing Jarvis and May’s romance from continuity with a devilish deal wasn’t enough, the “Secret Invasion” event established that Jarvis had been replaced with a Skrull imposter. Now, May didn’t have a relationship with an alien instead of not having a relationship with Jarvis. Comics, cool it with the retcons! As shown in “Mighty Avengers” #14, Skrull Jarvis used his close proximity to the Avengers to feed crucial information to the invading army.
The invasion was ultimately stopped, of course, and the real Jarvis returned. In “Avengers: The Initiative” #20 he joined a support group for other people that the Skrulls had impersonated, proving his bravery once again by getting the help he needed. Depending on the role “Agent Carter’s” Jarvis played in World War II, we could see this vulnerable yet determined side of the character in the show.
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