Moviegoers have been familiarized with J.A.R.V.I.S. since the first Iron Man film in 2008, as the artificial intelligence that assists Tony Stark around his home and inside the Iron Man suit itself. But more recently, fans of the live-action Marvel adaptations have been treated to a slightly more tangible version of the character with James D’Arcy portraying Edwin Jarvis in the Agent Carter miniseries currently airing on ABC.
Edwin Jarvis first appeared in Tales of Suspense #59 in November of 1964 as the butler to Tony Stark and the Avengers. He often served as an advisor and father figure to many of the team members, but being so close with a superhero team often put him in harm’s way. It’s been up to the butler to defend from the likes of Doctor Doom and Loki, and despite these threats, he’s remained loyal to the Avengers. Though he has no powers or technology of his own, Jarvis is a remarkably skilled hand-to-hand fighter and was actually a boxing champion of the Royal Air Force. His military combat training has helped him escape many predicaments over the years.
In Agent Carter, D’Arcy’s portrayal of Jarvis is as Howard Stark’s butler and assistant, helping Peggy Carter in her investigation of “Leviathan,” though he still desires to get home in time to kiss his wife goodnight. He has so far been, in many ways, the comic relief of the show, and D’Arcy’s performance has been widely praised.
Though Agent Carter will only run for eight episodes, Jarvis will return in his artificial intelligence form in the upcoming film Avengers: Age of Ultron, where he will once again be voiced by Paul Bettany. Whether real life or artificial, it’s clear that Jarvis will be watching over his favorite superhero team for many years to come.