It's been a long time coming but fans have finally been able to experience another dose of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this time with the arrival of brand new Disney Plus series Secret Invasion.

Inspired by the comic book storyline of the same name, Secret Invasion centres on Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury, who joins his allies to take down a cell of shape-shifting Skrulls.

Fans of the MCU were expecting action, drama, and to be reunited with some fan-favourite characters. What they may not have been expecting, though, is the shock death of legendary character Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill in the 2012 Avengers film, with cuts on her face
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill in the 2012 Avengers film.

We've all known Hill to be Fury's right-hand person and, although their relationship has been slightly strained as of late, in the first Secret Invasion episode, we see the pair come together with Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) stop the villainous Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir).

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The trio rush to Moscow try to prevent Gravik from waging a war between the US and Russia, but it's there that Gravik takes matters into his own sinister hands.

Using the form of Fury, he shoots and kills Hill. As if the scene wasn't already heartbreaking enough, the real Fury makes his way through the crowd to hold a dying Hill in his arms, crying as he does so.

It's safe to say that the premiere episode left viewers in a state of shock, with many taking to Twitter to express their heartbreak over the ending sequence.

One fan tweeted: "they BROUGHT MARIA HILL BACK only to kill her in the first episode????" while another simply said: "I'm speechless."

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While the entire episode only gives us a taste of the mind-bending Skrull involvement to come, many were left wondering whether the dying Hill we see is actually her or not.

One hopeful fan waited until the credits to roll but eventually realised we didn't get that hopeful plot twist, while another fan stated: "I won’t believe that Maria Hill is dead until the entire season is over."

While it'll surely take a moment for fans to regain their composure after such an episode, many were also quick to point out the fact that Hill would've died thinking it was her friend who shot her and not a Skrull.

Of course, this only adds to the heartache of the episode, with one Twitter user posting an apt crying meme to capture the fan feeling.

As if we need any more convincing that the series is going to be jam-packed full of twists, Jackson himself has previously said that Secret Invasion is a more serious piece than other recent Marvel projects, like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

He said: "This is proper intrigue and it seems like the Disney Plus franchise, the things that come through there like Loki and WandaVision – they all have their own distinct personalities.

"And this is following in that canon, I think, in terms of it being more intrigue than anything else has been."

Secret Invasion is available to stream on Disney Plus now. You can sign up to Disney Plus here for just £7.99 per month or £79.90 for a full year’s subscription, allowing you to stream the Marvel Cinematic Universe shows and films, as well as The Mandalorian and so much more.

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