Once upon a time, "The Avengers" had a very different beginning, one that established a much darker tone for the film to follow. Key to that alternate opening is Maria Hill, the young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent played by Cobie Smulders. Interrogated by her higher-ups on the New York disaster spawned by Loki and his Chitauri forces, Hill seemingly throws Nick Fury under the bus as the main man responsible for the catastrophe — a notion that would have likely been overturned by the film's end.
Of course, "Avengers" did not go for the dark, somber alternate opening we saw earlier this week. And in the end, Maria Hill did not play the critical role that she might have otherwise in Earth's mightiest superhero flick. That doesn't mean she won't have a key part in what's coming up next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of course, particularly based on some very happy small-screen news that broke earlier this week.
As we all know by now, Joss Whedon's mysterious Marvel television project is indeed the heavily-speculated "S.H.I.E.L.D." TV series. But who will star on that show? Coulson's dead, even if we think there are ways to bring him back. Nick Fury, Hawkeye and Black Widow are played by actors demanding pay days that series regular status can't afford. (The occasional sweeps guest appearance, on the other hand, is perhaps a different story.) That leaves Maria standing as the best known face of S.H.I.E.L.D. to date, paving the way for her to take the lead role on the developing series.
Then again, there's a little CBS sitcom standing between Smulders and weekly appearances on "S.H.I.E.L.D." With no end for "How I Met Your Mother" in sight, would Smulders be allowed — or even interested in — to take on the two shows at once? It's early days yet, but we know this much: if there's a "S.H.I.E.L.D." show, it demands the presence of Maria Hill. It's the perfect opportunity to see the fiery agent hit the field and get some red of her very own on her ledger.
So while we still have the chance, we're bestowing Hero of the Week status upon Agent Hill, not just for her "Avengers" deleted scene, but for her potential to lead a "S.H.I.E.L.D." television series to victory. Here's hoping that Smulders is somehow able to adjust her schedule so she can do both shows. (Alternately, if she wanted to bounce on "HIMYM" and join "S.H.I.E.L.D." full time, we wouldn't complain.)
Welcome to Hero of the Week, our weekly salute to the heroes keeping the comic book, movie and television scene something to look forward to day in and day out. From actual superheroes to the actors and filmmakers who bring them to life, you can tell us who your heroes are in the comments and on Twitter!