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V star Morena Baccarin is among the finalists to play a key member of SHIELD in The Avengers, a role that Samuel L. Jackson revealed last night on Jimmy Fallon will be Nick Fury’s “sidekick.”
Heat Vision reports that Jessica Lucas, Cobie Smulders and Mary Elizabeth Winstead are also up for the role, which will undergo screen tests on Friday.
We suggested earlier the part may be that of Sharon Carter, Carol Danvers or Maria Hill, three Marvel comics characters with ties to SHIELD. But The Hollywood Reporter blog points to months-old speculation about Janet Van Dyne/the Wasp, a role once linked to Baccarin. Director Joss Whedon has said that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow will be the only female Avenger, which doesn’t necessarily rule out Van Dyne, but certainly makes one of the other three characters more likely.
Baccarin would seem to have a leg up on the other contenders, having worked with Whedon on the short-lived, but much-loved, television series Firefly and the subsequent movie Serenity.
Lucas, who’s best known for roles in Melrose Place and Cloverfield, next appears in the NBC sitcom Friends with Benefits. Smulders stars in the hit CBS series How I Met Your Mother. Winstead, who appeared in Sky High and Live Free or Die Hard, is better known to comics fans as Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.
According to Heat Vision, the test deals involve Marvel’s now-standard nine-picture option, which means we’ll see plenty more of the actress over the next several years.
The Avengers, which stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg, opens on May 4, 2012.