What Is Jarvis' Background on 'Agent Carter'? Howard Stark's Butler Must Have a Reason for Sticking Around
Easily the breakout relationship of Agent Carter is the work banter between Peggy Carter and Jarvis, Howard Stark's butler and the ultimate inspiration for Iron Man's operating system. It's apparent that young Tony Stark learned how to sass people as much from Jarvis as he did from his own father. So, what's Jarvis' background and how did Howard Stark find him? Jarvis must have a good reason to put up with Stark's genius, playboy antics. While I am sure he is thankful to have Peggy around to out-British at all times, Jarvis would clearly rather be doing laundry than spy work. The actor James D'Arcy hinted to Entertainment Weekly exactly why Jarvis is so loyal and willing to assist Peggy Carter on Howard Stark's orders.
Howard did something for him that had an enormous [impact] in both his life and his wife’s life...As a result of that, I think Jarvis feels extremely loyal towards somebody of, let’s face it, questionable morality.
We've only seen two episodes of Agent Carter, and mentions of Jarvis' wife Anna would already make a good drinking game. What favor did Howard Stark do for the Jarvis family? Did he set Ed and Anna up on a blind fondue date? I looked to the Marvel comics and films for some answers.
In the comics, Edwin Jarvis is not British at all. He was born in Brooklyn, just like Steve Rogers. He joined the Canadian Royal Air Force, competed in boxing, and picked up the posh accent while serving overseas.
I can't decide whether or not I want this part of Jarvis' history to be included on Agent Carter. It would be funny to see Jarvis revealed as a fraud, but it would be a cheap joke. Right? You would need a lot of explanation to convince me to get on board with such a gag. Perhaps Howard is helping Jarvis and Anna to protect their identities for some reason?
The Big House
No, not a Stark Mansion. According to the official ABC press release for the third episode, "Time and Tide," Jarvis will be arrested by the SSR. Does Jarvis have a criminal past that Agent Carter is about to uncover? Has Mr. Stark somehow covered up his crime? Or is he just arrested as part of the ongoing investigation of Howard's potentially traitorous activities?
Of course, the most likely reason that anyone would trust a Stark (really trying hard to avoid a Game of Thrones joke here) is technology. Perhaps Howard developed something life saving for Jarvis, Anna, or both of them. We know that while Stark hasn't quite invented the arc reactor yet, he's coming close. Anton Vanko is in the building.
Anna Jarvis is not a character in Marvel Comics. The most famous Marvel character named Anna is the X-Men heroine Rogue, so I'm guessing Anna Jarvis is an original character. Edwin dated around in the comics, with love interests including a girl named Glory Garsen and Spider-Man's Aunt May! Jarvis met Glory while rescuing her from some possessed machinery, and she later returned the favor. Perhaps Agent Carter could draw from this. It has "Stark" written all over it, after all.
Images: Kelsey McNeal/ABC; Giphy (4)