As many fans suspected when they saw her hanging out with Stark Industries Human Resources at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill (played by Cobie Smulders) will be working for Iron Man's company when she appears on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in two weeks.
Marvel has confirmed her shift in employment via an official statement, saying in part, "Now, with S.H.I.E.L.D. gone Maria Hill has found herself working for Tony Stark…but she’ll soon have an encounter with her former colleague, Phil Coulson."
Hill, of course, is one of a very few people in on the secret that former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury isn't really dead, and that information could come in handy for Coulson and company -- especially since Samuel L. Jackson recently confirmed that he will appear as Fury in the season finale.
"I think, Maria being the high level person she was, takes the long view. I guess she’s very pragmatic, or [at least] playing pragmatic," said Executive Producer Jeffrey Bell. "So when she shows up and we know that she’s [working] for Stark Industries, in a certain way I think she’s looking for a fresh start and a new way for her to help [the world], a new way for her to be involved, a new way for her to do good. But I think it’s a great opportunity for her and Coulson to be in some conflict because he’s the guy who doesn’t want to let go, and she’s the one that’s clearly moved on."
There's been a good deal of speculation since the start of the series that Smulders could join the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast full-time (or at least as a recurring character), given that her decade-long run as Robin Scherbatsky on How I Met Your Mother wrapped up last month.