Cobie Smulders Confirmed As S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill In 'The Avengers'

Cobie Smulders photoWhen Samuel L. Jackson revealed that Nick Fury would have a “sidekick” in “The Avengers,” few speculated that he was pointing to anyone other than S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill, the second-in-command operative whose popularity exploded following her 2005 comic debut.

Now it seems the role has secured its star, and Fury his first real film-foil. Just yesterday “How I Met Your Mother” actress Cobie Smulders was called a front-runner for the part, and she must not have had far to go before breaking that finish line tape.

According to Variety, Smulders has been confirmed for the role of Hill, beating out at least five actresses, including, reportedly, Morena Baccarin (of “Firefly” and “V”), Jessica Lucas ("Cloverfield") and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World”), all of which, at some point, read opposite Jackson.

Of course Hill will have more than one super-size ego to contend with throughout the script. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson will be sharing the screen with Jackson to portray the grandest superhero ensemble yet filmed. But Variety does continue to say that the actress will be integrated into all future “Avenger” projects, even detailing that Hill is destined to become the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., following the comic continuity of Marvel's massive "Civil War" story arc.

The deal makes “The Avengers” the first major film for Smulders, who was at one time considered by Joss Whedon to star in a planned “Wonder Woman” adaptation for Warner Bros.

"The Avengers" is planned for release on May 4, 2012.

Do you think Smulders is a good fit for Maria Hill? What do you think of the character in comics? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!