Several days ago, Samuel L. Jackson hinted that S.H.I.E.L.D. head honcho Nick Fury would be bringing on a female sidekick in Joss Whedon's Avengers flick. Deadline is reporting that How I Met Your Mother actress Cobie Smulders will likely portray agent Maria Hill, who was the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. during the 2006 Marvel mega-event Civil War.
In Civil War, Iron Man and Hill hunted down Captain America and other superheroes who refused to sign with The Superhuman Registration Act (she's made her amends with Cap since then). Does her presence in the film indicate that the film's mining Civil War for inspiration? I somewhat doubt it — the first film will likely have a "team comes together" vibe — but her inclusion does set up plot possibilities for future installments of the franchise.