Hayley Atwell has cast doubt on a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The 40-year-old star has portrayed Agent Peggy Carter in the MCU for over a decade but has claimed that she may not return.

In an interview with Digital Spy, Hayley said: "It's so funny, because, you know, I did that 10 years ago, and I love her because I love the people, and you never know (if there could be more).

"It depends on what Marvel, and what the audiences, want... I'm a custodian of her."

Hayley no longer feels ownership over the character and hinted that she will focus on her role in the 'Mission: Impossible' franchise as well as theatre work.

The 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' star said: "Compared to the rest of my career and everything I've done or my stage work and doing 'Mission: Impossible' now and all the diversity of roles I've played, and the diversity that I get to explore, and to be able to play more complex roles and villains and lots of different things – she is not mine anymore.

"She lives in the world of people that have taken her into their heart. And that's beautiful. But it's kind of like: yeah, you can't control the impact a particular role has on the rest of the world."

Hayley touched on the impact of playing the role in numerous projects over the course of more than a decade.

She said: "I think, you know, when I first started doing it, what it meant in playing her was, I was starting to learn how to hold my own as a character who felt like an outsider, a little bit, and was up against the very obvious things of being in a man's world, being overlooked, being overseen, knowing that she was competent but it was unlikely that she would get the recognition – she would just have to work twice as hard.

"And yet she remained dignified in that. And it was particularly more explored in the series that she remained true to herself. So she had an integrity that I really admired."