Fans who attended the S.H.I.E.L.D. panel at Comic-Con Friday got a first look at the premiere episode, which features Smulders in several scenes. Hill helps Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) assemble a select group of agents from the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D., which investigates strange and unknown occurrences around the globe.
"I wanted very much to have Cobie in the pilot because as much as anyone else, she is S.H.I.E.L.D.," executive producer Joss Whedon says. "She's cool and commanding, and has the dry humor that plays so well with Clark's. Also, if she's in it, I get to hang out with Cobie."
For now, the 31-year-old actress only appears in the first episode. Whedon and ABC remain coy about whether she'll recur, but sources note that she will not be a series regular on the drama. Which makes sense: She's currently shooting the final season of How I Met Your Mother. But with HIMYM coming to an end this season, Smulders will be available for further appearances on the ABC drama.
Smulders is also slated to reprise the role in next year's Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Smulders' appearance isn't the only secret that Whedon has kept about the show's first episode. For example, how was Agent Coulson resurrected after his death in The Avengers? Spoiler Alert! In the pilot, we quickly learn that Coulson believes that he died briefly, but was then revived. In another scene, Maria Hill notes that Coulson can never know the truth about his death, possibly giving credence to our theory that Coulson is a Life Model Decoy. Whedon has previously noted that the mystery behind Coulson's revival will unfold throughout the season, so don't expect an answer any time soon!
"I didn't like being dead, but I really loved my death," Gregg said after hugging Whedon during Friday's panel at Comic-Con. "I never thought anything could top that, and then I met Lola [Coulson's high-tech car in S.H.I.E.L.D.]. I'm a long-time Marvel fan, so I just can't believe this is happening to me... I thought I was done and I was really pleased and proud at the run the guy had. Then, bad-ass geeks around the world were just not hearing that. All over the web it was #CoulsonLives and that just means everything to me."
Gregg was joined on stage by co-stars Ming-Na Wen and Brett Dalton, who play Agents Melinda May and Grant Ward, respectively; Ian De Caestrecker (Fitz) and Elizabeth Henstridge (Simmons); as well as Chloe Bennet, who plays Skye, a staunch opponent-turned-ally of S.H.I.E.L.D. Whedon remains coy about which other characters from the story's mythology may pop up in the series. "We may see some new people from the Marvel Universe that have not [yet been in the movies]," he said.
"I have assembled this extraordinary ensemble of ridiculously talented and soon-to-be-very-full-of-themselves people," he continued. "The endless possibilities that we have between them, among them, their past and future and interactions, the things that we've got from the Marvel Universe, that we'll bring to the Marvel Universe, this is a show that has so much history and so much to make. I guess I'm a little excited."
The series went back into production three days ago, with producers promising to continue the same high-caliber action that was seen in the pilot. "Wait until you see Episode 2," Gregg joked.
The highly anticipated new series will debut Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8/7c on ABC. Are you looking forward to S.H.I.E.L.D.?