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Secret Invasion: Cobie Smulders' Favorite Maria Hill Moments Are Deeply Personal

Saying goodbye to the MCU's Maria Hill was a shock to many fans and may have even been a huge mistake for "Secret Invasion," but Cobie Smulders is taking it in stride. While Maria has a long-running arc in the comics, including becoming the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Episode 1 of the limited series was her swan song.

"This has been an amazing run," Smulders told The Hollywood Reporter following the episode. "What a dream job. ... I'm proud and excited that I got the opportunity to play Maria Hill over the last 10 years in films and television and in animated form." Over the decade that the "How I Met Your Mother" actor played the iconic character, she formed many fond memories. But when pressed, Smulders' favorite moments stretched back to the beginning. Describing the early days of the first and second "Avengers" films, she went on to say that the big group scenes on the ship stick out the most. It was an ensemble cast first and foremost, and she enjoyed the group dynamic of the set. 

She also had the privilege of watching the production and seeing how it incorporated CGI into the filmmaking. "I remember going onto the first one and being given artist renderings of my character and her costume, and it was so thought out and beautifully done," Smulders recalled. "So that will always be a big takeaway."

Fan support of Maria has been the best part

Big franchises such as Marvel are fueled by fan fervor, and Cobie Smulders is keenly aware of that. Though toxic fan culture can take up a lot of space, the woman behind Maria Hill has felt nothing but acceptance from viewers. As she steps away from Marvel Studios — hopefully just for the time being — Smulders finds the love from fans to be the most touching. "It will also be the fan support," she concluded. "It has been an amazing 10 years of being a part of something that is so beloved and makes people so excited. They are so emotionally attached to these characters and this world, and so it's just been really cool to be a small part of that." 

Maria's "small part" has united fans in mourning the loss of the character. It is true that at most, Maria appears only to give limited exposition before letting the titular leads take over, but her comic legacy has endeared the live-action character to the Marvel universe. And with the multiverse, there is no telling what the future holds for the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. With three live-action Spider-Men, two Captain Americas, and a Hulk movie rumored to unite all the canon, it isn't too much to ask to bring a Maria variant on board with more to do — and maybe even to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. director in her own right.