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Could Cobie Smulders Return to 'Agents of SHIELD'?

The "How I Met Your Mother" star talks with THR about reprising her "Avengers" role beyond the pilot of ABC's new Joss Whedon Marvel drama.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Cobie Smulders - H 2013
ABC/Justin Lubin
Cobie Smulders in "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD"

Cobie Smulders is poised to have a grand start to the 2013-14 TV season.

The actress on Sept. 23 will launch the ninth and final season of CBS' How I Met Your Mother followed on Sept. 24 by a high-profile cameo in ABC's Avengers follow-up Marvel's Agents of SHIELD.

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Smulders is set to reprise her Avengers role as Agent Maria Hill in the Marvel drama from Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. She signed on as a cameo in the pilot as the Command Center boss to Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) -- who was mysteriously brought back to life after the character perished in The Avengers.

While Smulders is contractually obligated to How I Met Your Mother, the actress remains open to returning to ABC's SHIELD.

"I'm up for it. It's just a matter of the direction that they decide to go with the show," she tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I don't know how much they'll be at the Command Center and how much they need me around. If it works out organically with the storyline, then I'd be happy to come in, but I truly don't know."

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While SHIELD is considered one of the biggest sure-fire hits among the broadcast networks' freshman class, Smulders didn't seem interested in returning full-time for the drama's potential second season once her commitments to Mother conclude.

"It's hard to say. I'm planning a big move to New York, so that's a pretty huge factor in doing another series in Los Angeles," she says. "This is the joy and the terror of coming off of a show after nine years: What should I do, what should I not do?! If the right project comes along, of course I'd return to TV. But I'd like to focus on film and on theater right now."

PHOTOS: ABC's 2013-14 Season: 'SHIELD,' 'Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,' More

One thing that's certain, though, is that Smulders has a lot of love for the brain trusts behind SHIELD.

"I was so excited to work with Joss again and to meet his brother, Jed, and his wife, Maurissa, and get to hang out with them again," she says of filming the SHIELD pilot. "They're all geniuses. Joss sent me my scenes and it was so great to see this character interacting in a different way and to basically get to tell the world that Coulson is 'alive' and back with a TV show where you can watch him every week. I was excited about that more than anything."

In the meantime, Smulders will focus her attention on Mother, calling the final season an "array of emotions" on set. "Some days, it's business as usual and others it's really nostalgic," she says, noting she'd love to keep the Robin Sparkles jacket as a keepsake. "It's joy, sadness and overwhelming gratitude for having been employed for a good nine years. How often does that happen in this industry?"

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit