UPDATE (Dec. 7 at 3:45 a.m. PT): Well, it looks like Vulture got Smulders’ quote wrong. She didn’t suggest her character Maria Hill has superpowers, but instead said, “And if she had a superpower it would be that she is hyperintelligent; a very nice, fine woman who has all the answers.”
Original post follows …
The Avengers rumor mill hasn’t dwelt much on Maria Hill, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent portrayed by How I Met Your Mother star Cobie Smulders. After all, the character, initially described by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury’s “sidekick or something,” seemed like a minor player, someone introduced primarily to dilute the testosterone in director Joss Whedon’s ensemble movie. (Besides, we’ve had other, bigger matters to fixate on, like whether Loki will be at the head of an invading Skrull armada, or if Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk will have a hairy chest.)
But is it possible we’ve underestimated Maria Hill’s role in the Marvel film? An all-too-brief comment by Smulders suggests that may be the case. Warning: Potential spoilers follow.
During a Q&A with Vulture devoted to How I Met Your Mother, the subject momentarily turns to The Avengers, with Smulders asked, “You’re not a superhero in the movie, but you do have sick costumes?”
Her answer? “I do. They’re very sleek, and very leather. And she has superpowers and is hyperintelligent; a very nice, fine woman who has all the answers.”
Comics fans will, of course, pause on “she has superpowers,” as the Maria Hill of the Marvel Universe is a capable leader and tactician, and a skilled combatant and marksman, but possesses no superhuman abilities. Perhaps Whedon is merely tinkering with the character — even borrowing from Carol Danvers’ background, creating his own Ms. Marvel? — to lay the groundwork for a larger presence in the sequel.
Or maybe there’s actually something to that IMDb entry from August that listed Smulders as playing both Maria Hill and Princess Anelle, heir to the Skrull Empire introduced way back in Fantastic Four #37. So if the shape-shifting Skrulls are the “unexpected enemy” that emerges in The Avengers to threaten the planet — and it looks like they are — then it seems likely that Smulders’ Maria Hill is a double agent who’s infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. Whether she’s done so to aid the invasion or stop it is a question for another day.
Opening May 4, The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill and Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Selvig.