Cobie Smulders may join The Avengers as Maria Hill
Samuel L. Jackson revealed /nick-fury-to-be-featured-in-thor-and-captain-america/last week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon that his Nick Fury character would be getting a female sidekick in The Avengers. Soon after, it was revealed that Jessica Lucas, Cobie Smulders, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead were all auditioning for this unspecified character, with V's Morena Baccarin apparently in the lead.

Today, it has been announced that How I Met Your Mother's Cobie Smulders is now the top contender, and that Marvel Studios is close to signing the actress as Samuel L. Jackson's sidekick. The character is actually S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, and a deal could be done before the weekend is out.

Maria Hill is said to be a hardheaded interim executive director of S.H.I.E.L.D. who has been known to blackmail and bully superheroes to get her way. If Cobie Smulders signs onto The Avengers, she will also be committing to a number of other appearances in future Marvel movies as Maria Hill, including S.H.I.E.L.D.