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Warning: Major Spider-Man: Far From Home SPOILERS ahead!
Since the beginning, Marvel Cinematic Universe films have been known for their end-credits scenes and few have had the kind of jaw-dropping impact as those in Spider-Man: Far From Home. After a shocking mid-credits scene where Peter Parker’s secret identity is revealed to the world, the end-credits scene reveals two other secret identities in a film that is all about deception. It turns out that Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill were secretly Skrulls the whole film.
It was a wild twist that left audiences reeling, but they weren’t the only ones. Actress Cobie Smulders didn’t know about Spider-Man: Far From Home’s credits twist while filming, as she explained:
Literally a week before the movie came out, I found out from Kevin [Feige] that they shot the extra scene [with Maria and Nick]. It was added [during postproduction]. That driving footage is from the first scene that got cut out of the movie.
How incredibly sneaky. The end-credits twist scene where Nick Fury and Maria Hill were driving in a car and are revealed to be Talos and Soren wasn’t actually shot with that purpose in mind, at least not from Cobie Smulders perspective. As the actress told THR, that driving footage was filmed for the beginning of the movie, where the two spies first meet Mysterio. It was cut, but then repurposed in post where it was combined with footage of Ben Mendelsohn and Sharon Blynn's Skrulls for the end-credits scene.
So Cobie Smulders found out the true nature of the character she played for an entire movie just a week before it hit theaters when Kevin Feige told her. This might be the most intense Marvel Studios secrecy yet; Smulders didn't necessarily know what character she was playing. It does make you kind of wonder if the Skrull reveal was the plan all along or if Marvel came up with it late in the process.
What’s kind of neat about Cobie Smulders finding out about the twist after the fact is the knowledge that Maria Hill was really a Skrull didn’t inform her performance. Thus there were no tells and the audience was able to be completely surprised. The twist also now sets up a ton of questions about what the real Nick Fury is up to and how long Skrulls have been impersonating him and Maria Hill.
To that end, some fan theories posit that Maria Hill has in fact been a Skrull since she was introduced to the MCU all the way back in The Avengers. Addressing this possibility, Cobie Smulders said:
They could change it to be that way, but in my mind — no. I don’t know where she is, but my hope is that she’s on vacation somewhere. In this world, she’s probably just on some other mission.
It might already be head canon for some fans, but as far as Cobie Smulders is concerned, there is a real Maria Hill out there and she was not secretly a Skrull in The Avengers. It seems that she is now operating under the assumption that I think many of us are, that Nick Fury and Maria Hill were only Skrulls in Spider-Man: Far From Home and the switch took place in universe in the months after Avengers: Endgame.
While it’s a fun idea that Maria Hill has been a Skrull since The Avengers, it’s always tricky when you start to mess with established canon. That’s why notions that members of the Avengers have been Skrulls in a Secret Invasion-esque storyline carry both pros and cons. So I’m not so sure we’ll find out if this fan theory is true.
For Cobie Smulders, the real Maria Hill is hopefully taking a much-needed vacation after being returned to the land of the living when the Snap was reversed in Endgame. As she said though, the more likely reality is that Maria Hill is on some other mission, perhaps she’s even with Nick Fury doing whatever he’s doing with the Skrulls in space.