With Clark Gregg on board to play Agent Phil Coulson again, Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  has its Bifrost bridge to the Marvel Movie Universe – but now producers have doubled down, adding another key player from The Avengers in the form of How I Met Your Mother actress Cobie Smulders, who will reprise her role as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill in the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Surprised? Why? Smulders has hinted in that past that she has had discussions about a role on the show and that “the commitments to [How I Met Your Mother] don’t affect it“. Besides that, Maria Hill is a vital part of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics, and technically, she’s ranked above Coulson in The Avengers (but is she “level 8?”), so it seems like a natural fit.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is of course making its presence felt at the 2013 Comic-Con, and here’s Joss Whedon’s statement to THR, in advanced of the show’s Comic-Con panel:

“I wanted very much to have Cobie in the pilot because as much as anyone else, she IS SHIELD.  She’s cool and commanding and has the dry humor that plays so well with Clark’s [Gregg]. Also, if she’s in it, I get to hang out with Cobie,”

The question is, will the pilot, or rather, the premiere episode, be Smulders’ only appearance on S.H.I.E.L.D. this season while HIMYM wraps up its 9-season run? Presently there are conflicting reports, with THR saying this will be a “one-off cameo role,” but that Smulders “could return for another similar spot in the future”;  TV Line sounded more optimistic, reporting that the actress would “appear in the pilot and other episodes”.

Right now, it seems like the latter may be a safer bet and that Smulders may have negotiated a certain number of appearances into her season 9 contract with the producers of HIMYM. This would allow her to come back and give Robin Sparkles fans one more trip to the mall (and, you know, some closure with the whole getting married to Barney thing…). It would  also take advantage of the shiny Marvel career trajectory that she is currently on, thanks to The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and now Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is set to debut on September 24th @8PM on ABC.

Stay tuned for more news about the show to be revealed at its Comic-Con panel.

Sources: THR