Cobie Smulders is in final negotiations to play SHIELD agent Maria Hill in The Avengers, Variety reports.
News broke over the weekend that the star of How I Met Your Mother had emerged as the frontrunner for the role, described by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury’s “sidekick,” edging out actresses Morena Baccarin, Jessica Lucas and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Debuting in Marvel comics in 2005, Maria Hill served as interim executive director, and then deputy director, of SHIELD before being appointed by Steve Rogers to lead a new team of Avengers.
The 28-year-old Smulders, who was Avengers director Joss Whedon’s choice to star in his abandoned Wonder Woman, is expected to sign the now-standard deal to appear in nine Marvel films. According to Variety, her character “would work closely with Jackson’s Nick Fury, and eventually becomes the head of the espionage and law enforcement group.”
The Avengers, which is set to begin filming in April, stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg. It opens on May 4, 2012.