While such S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as the costumed Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) - not to mention, everyone's favorite straight-laced agent, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) - have shown up in the Marvel flicks which laid the groundwork for this summer's The Avengers, there's one important S.H.I.E.L.D. employee who'll make her live-action debut in the film: Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).
We've previously only gotten a fuzzy glimpse of Smulders as Agent Hill from an Avengers promotional banner - not to mention, her brief and wordless cameo in the second Avengers trailer (see the header image) - but today, we finally have an official high-resolution look at Smulders "in character" as her S.H.I.E.L.D. agent alter ego.
Get a better at Agent Maria Hill in the Avengers stills below:
As Agent Hill, Smulders is wearing a catsuit-like uniform similar to the character's traditional outfit in most Marvel comic book series, but skips on Miss Hill's usual "tomboy" hairdo (in favor of just tying her locks up in a bun). Basically, the actress looks the part fine; what's more interesting is the question of how she'll be portrayed in Joss Whedon's Avengers movie.
While Smulders has already revealed that she's contractually obligated to appear in somewhere around seven future Marvel movies, it stands to reason that her first onscreen appearance might not be the most memorable. After all, the character is only considered to have become an important player in the comic books after she replaced Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson in The Avengers) as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and took a pro-registration stance during the famous Marvel Civil War crossover storyline.
Plus, given that Smulder's as Hill will be competing with four major superheroes (Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America), along with her fellow pre-established S.H.I.E.L.D. agents for screen time, it stands to reason that she might end up being pushed to the side a bit in The Avengers.
On the other hand, Whedon has a history of creating meaty roles for actresses; so even though Smulders (by her own admittance) won't be doing "a ton of fighting" in The Avengers, she could still manage to make a impression by whipping out a few scene-stealing one-liners - or striking a badass pose or two - whenever she's onscreen.
The Avengers opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters around the U.S. on May 4th, 2012.