Maria Hill Dies In ‘Secret Invasion’: How Marvel Kills Cobie Smulders’ Character
RIP Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), long-time S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and confidante of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). You were always Nick Fury’s ride or die, happy to hang out with him on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, to bust the Avengers out of the clutches of HYDRA, or to simply just share a drink in Russia with the dude. If Nick Fury needed you, you were there. If the Avengers needed you, you were there if Fury told you to be. You were loyal, brave, competent, and essentially just really freaking awesome. And now, after the first episode of Secret Invasion on Disney+, you’re dead.
Marvel fans first met the live action version of Agent Maria Hill in the cold open of 2012’s The Avengers. She’s introduced as Nick Fury’s righthand man, tasked with handling his secret plans, but — more importantly — free to question his every decision. Maria quickly showed audiences how she earned such trust by gracefully handling the tense situation of pursuing Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and a brainwashed Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in a daring car chase.
While none of the MCU films gave us too much insight into Maria Hill’s personal life, we were able to glean key facts about her thanks to her consistent displays of loyalty, courage, and competence. In a world full of shape-shifting aliens, real life superheroes, and double agents, Maria Hill was the one person the least trusting character, Nick Fury, trusted. It spoke volumes about her character even if the MCU didn’t bother fleshing that character out.
For some reason, however — probably hubris — Nick Fury refuses to take Maria Hill’s advice in the first episode of Secret Invasion. The new Disney+ show reveals that Nick Fury promised the Skrulls that he would find them a safe new homeworld way back in the 1990s. Decades have passed and all Fury has done for the Skrulls on Earth is use them as his own secret superspies. The younger generation of Skrulls, led by Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), has decided that Fury has betrayed them. Ergo Gravik wants to take Fury’s world for the Skrulls.
It’s a crisis wholly of Nick Fury’s own making. In Secret Invasion Episode 1, Maria Hill becomes maybe the umpteenth person to point out to Fury that’s been off his game since the Blip and that he might be in over his head. By the end of the episode, Fury’s fumbles have disastrous consequences. He lets himself get played by Gravik, resulting in a public act of terrorism and the death of Maria Hill. Gravik makes Hill’s death a personal attack on Fury, using Fury’s own face to get close enough to the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to shoot her point blank.
After years of supporting Nick Fury in the field, Maria Hill is rewarded with a slug to the gut. It’s a brutal kill for an MCU series and one that diminishes Hill’s character irrevocably. Smulders had played Hill with enough poise and confidence that you could intuit a rich personal life we didn’t get to see on screen. Secret Invasion, however, kills Maria Hill off in service to Nick Fury’s story.
So Rest in Peace, Maria Hill. We hardly knew thee, although you were in a lot of MCU films. You deserved better out of Secret Invasion.