UPDATED: Cobie Smulders CONFIRMED for Maria Hill role in AVENGERS
UPDATE 2: Variety is now reporting Smulders is confirmed!
UPDATE: THR is now reporting that Smulders is in "final negotiations" for the role.
Earlier this week, Samuel L. Jackson revealed that he'd be getting a female sidekick of sorts in the new AVENGERS. After much fan speculation, Entertainment Weekly has just confirmed that it'll be the role of Maria Hill with actress Colbie Smulders, from How I Met Your Mother, as the current frontrunner for the role.
In the comics, Maria Hill becomes the leader of the S.H.I.E.L.D after taking over for Nick Fury. Her motives and methods were questionable, causing many of the Avengers to break off to form the Secret Avengers to break away from her control. It'll be interesting to see what Joss Whedon does with the character, and just how much we'll see of her big personality in the AVENGERS film. With so many characters in play, this first film could serve as just an introduction, with the more nefarious points of her personality coming out in subsequent sequels or offshoots.
For those unfamiliar with Cobie Smulders, she's Robin Scherbatsky on the CBS hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother. This would be her first major motion picture, and I think she'd be a perfect fit. She's got the comedy chops to play off Robert Downey Jr., and can play the rough side of a role perfectly for this particularly gray character.