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Maria Hill

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.

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Good morning, Splash Page readers! Few better ways to push us through hump day than with some brand new "Avengers" photos, featuring two of Earth's mightiest heroes and one of their bosses, right? Let's get right to it!

Iron Man

Up first is a shot of the Iron Man armor, complete with the triangular arc reactor. With chest thrust out and eyes aglow, Tony Stark's metallic alter-ego certainly looks ready to get down to business… and as we saw in yesterday's electrifying clip, that armor is certainly well equipped to take on the godly powers of the mighty Thor.

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Back at the beginning of February, actress Samuel L. Jackson) sidekick Maria Hill in Joss Whedon's upcoming Marvel Comics adaptation, "The Avengers." The movie is just rounding on the end of pre-production now, with shooting to begin next month.

Smulders said in a recent interview that she's leaving very soon to start work in front of the cameras.

"We start in April, which is like... tomorrow. I literally leave here and I go to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to shoot some scenes in a catsuit," she told Zap2It. Read More...

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Cobie Smulders photoWhen Samuel L. Jackson revealed that Nick Fury would have a “sidekick” in “The Avengers,” few speculated that he was pointing to anyone other than S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill, the second-in-command operative whose popularity exploded following her 2005 comic debut.

Now it seems the role has secured its star, and Fury his first real film-foil. Just yesterday “How I Met Your Mother” actress Cobie Smulders was called a front-runner for the part, and she must not have had far to go before breaking that finish line tape.

According to Variety, Smulders has been confirmed for the role of Hill, beating out at least five actresses, including, reportedly, Morena Baccarin (of “Firefly” and “V”), Jessica Lucas ("Cloverfield") and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World”), all of which, at some point, read opposite Jackson. Read More...

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First, Emily Blunt missed out on playing Black Widow in "Iron Man 2," with the role eventually going to Scarlett Johansson. Now, she's passing on yet another Marvel Comics opportunity, this time as Peggy Carter in "The First Avenger: Captain America." Rumors are circulating that Blunt made this move in order to pursue Catwoman in "Batman 3," but the question remains — what if that role eludes her as well?

As a fan of Blunt's work, I think the actress is perfectly suited for a wide variety of comic book characters, even if she hasn't found the right role just yet. Assuming she's still interested in powering up for a comic book role, these five characters just might do the trick. Read More...

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