TV Shows
Published June 24, 2023

‘Secret Invasion’: Cobie Smulders Reflects on Maria Hill’s MCU Journey

"I just never expected to get to do so many different projects, and such a varied amount of projects, animated, television, film."

maria hill - secret invasion

The first episode of Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion ends with a shocking twist: long-time S.H.I.E.L.D. operative and Avengers-ally Maria Hill is killed by the rogue Skrull Gravik amid a confusing scuffle. Hill, along with Nick Fury and the Skrull Talos, is trying to stop Gravik from carrying out an attack. The team is unfortunately not successful and as the dust starts to settle, Hill approaches who she believes to be Fury; unfortunately, it’s Gravik masquerading as him instead. Gravik, as Fury, fatally shoots her, leaving Hill to succumb to her wounds in the real Fury’s arms.

It’s a heartbreaking end, considering viewers have been watching Cobie Smulders’ Hill charge into battle alongside a wide array of Super Heroes since making her debut in The Avengers back in 2012. Now, a decade later Smulders is simply thrilled to have been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for so long, and excited that Secret Invasion raises the stakes to new, grittier heights.

Following the first episode, jumped on a video chat with Smulders to talk through the series, Hill’s journey, and how all the kids in her life think she’s very cool.

MARVEL.COM: Before we even get to Secret Invasion, I'd like to look back on the last 10 years of Maria Hill in the MCU. Is there anything that stands out in your mind as being the best thing — a favorite day, a favorite moment throughout everything?

COBIE SMULDERS: Oh, it's so hard to choose that, I can say thankfully, because there were so many wonderful moments. When I auditioned to play this role — I think you're right, 10 years ago, maybe a little bit more — I just never expected to get to do so many different projects, and such a varied amount of projects, animated, television, film. It's been really, really cool. I think this last series of Secret Invasion was really special. We got to do some more intimate scenes. We got to talk about emotions, or at least certainly acknowledge that they exist, which is great.

We just got off a plane yesterday and [my husband] was watching some of the Avengers films. It just really brought me back. And I went, oh, my God.

Just remembering going into those rooms, being on a flying aircraft carrier with the Avengers, just flying through the sky. And the scale— the scale of all those first Avengers movies was just huge. So to start my time as Maria Hill on these huge sets, tentpole movies, and then to seemingly get to finish doing a series where it was so much gritty. It was very much boots on the ground, humans talking to each other, it was marvelous.

That didn't really answer your question, but it's a hard one to get specific. It's hard to pick and choose, but every experience I have has just been wonderful.

MARVEL.COM: No, that was the perfect answer. In interviews, you've been talking about your daughters and how all of this has made you very cool with your kids—

COBIE SMULDERS: Not just with my kids, I've got nieces, I've got nephews. Friends' kids are excited about me. It's one of the perks, one of many perks that you get when you're asked to be in this world, which is this world is supported by such incredible fans.

I've witnessed that over the 10 years. And I'm really witnessing it now, too, just hearing the fans. It's incredible. And I and I just love that this is a world started by artists, by comic book lovers, by these initial characters. I feel so lucky to have been a part of the world for as long as I have, just because it is such a magical, creative place.

MARVEL.COM: Have your daughters and the other kids seen the first episode of Secret Invasion yet?

COBIE SMULDERS: Our eldest has. Our youngest, no. But they don't really watch a lot of my stuff, but I think it's more just being a part of Marvel is cool, not necessarily me, but just that I've hung out with Captain America, I think they find it cool.

I don't know if they can see me as super cool just because I'm their mom, but I do get that from a lot of their friends, and again, my nephews and nieces and stuff. That's pretty cool.

maria hill - secret invasion

MARVEL.COM: Diving into Secret Invasion, when did you first learn of Maria's fate in the show?

COBIE SMULDERS: I always knew. I knew from the first call about it. I think it was an opportunity to just increase the stakes from the get-go. I think it was unexpected for everyone, including myself, but I think it really adds a level of reality — if this happens, where do we go from here?

[The creative team] was always very upfront with me about it. I was just excited to get to go and play her again, and play with Sam [Jackson] again, and the rest of this amazing cast. What a fricking dream. I got to meet Olivia Colman, Emilia Clarke, and Ben Mendelsohn, it was a wonderful project.

MARVEL.COM: It's like the gang is back together for one last go, all the core spies that we've met in the MCU. What was it like working with some of them?

COBIE SMULDERS: Oh, heavenly, heavenly. Marvel really does a great job of putting together really cool, nice, kind, extremely talented people. And this wasn't an exception. So it was really cool. I love being with Sam. I love doing scenes with Sam. Also, just having done scenes with Sam over 10 years, just you jump back into it. There's not a ton of process involved because it is so familiar. So it was really cool to get to play with him again.

MARVEL.COM: Maria's death is very sudden and tragic. It comes out of nowhere and I was shocked. What was it like filming that final scene with Sam?

COBIE SMULDERS: It was certainly emotional. It was a bit of a build to that last moment because we were shooting the entire sequence — the explosions, the running, the chasing, that square we were in for a couple of days. Sam and I had some lovely moments. Even though it was a violent send-off, it was a nice day on set for me.

MARVEL.COM: And people are going to debate for years over whether Maria knew it wasn't Fury who shot her in the end. What is it like being part of that much longer conversation that will continue for years throughout the MCU?

COBIE SMULDERS: I don't think that we were privy enough to [Maria’s] knowledge of Skrulls. I'd like to think, even though I don't think she had as much awareness of how much the Skrulls have taken over or infiltrated our society — I don't think she's aware enough of to know what level that is.

And I think the audience — that will reveal itself to the audience in the upcoming episodes. But I do think that there was a moment at the end there where I think that there's a lot going on, but I'd like to think that she knew at the end that it wasn't him, mainly just because of his behavior. So I'd like to think that, but I think it's still very tragic.

MARVEL.COM: That's what I'm going to think. I'm going to think that she knew it wasn't really him.

COBIE SMULDERS: I think it's more his side of things, which will keep the wondering because I think that Fury will continue to worry that she didn't know. That will propel his story forward.

MARVEL.COM:  Is there anything you'd like to say to the Marvel fans who have loved watching you on screen over the years?

COBIE SMULDERS: Oh, gosh. Thank you doesn't seem to cover it, does it? I just love playing a woman in this world, especially a woman that is as dedicated, loyal, trustworthy, and intelligent. It has been such an honor to be able to play her and to have been supported by so many Marvel fans. It's the best feeling in the world. Thank you, but it doesn't seem to quite cover it.

No backup. Just Fury. Secret Invasion is now streaming on Disney+. 



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