So, late last night we ran a story about possible cast appearances during principle photography of The Avengers in New York City. (You can read the original report here.)

The press release excerpt we were sent is as follows:

S.H.I.E.L.D. invites you to join the AVENGERS initiative

Meet the cast of S.H.I.E.L.D. and join the Avengers initiative! Marvel Studios to announce an S.H.I.E.L.D. Assembly in New York City for spring 2011. During principal filming, S.H.I.E.L.D. will be out in full force in NYC to recruit and find new members. Cast members on hand include Samuel L. Jackson (Director Nick Fury), Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill) and Kevin Pennington (Agent Wendell Vaughn). Fans will get the chance to meet the stars and get their photograph taken with them at the event.

The source is untested and we haven't heard anything first hand about the report since we printed it.

But we've received an alarming amount of mail about it. We've received a few independent confirmations that this press release did come out, though we still haven't seen anything first hand. According to these additional sources, the press release was sent with confidentiality agreements and there were intimated threats that if the news leaked the events would be cancelled since it was difficult enough to get Samuel L. Jackson to agree to these public appearances.

It was also speculated (and it makes sense) that the excerpt of the press release that we were given was not verbatim from the actual release. The source put the details of the event in his own words in order to further separate the original from him so that he might not be identified. Those that called out the release because of its wording had cause to.

Another bit of information left out of the version we received is that another event like this was planned with the cast for Comic-Con.

There has been no word from Marvel about the truth of any of this, and we've not been contacted by them in any way. We'd love to hear from them directly about the validity of the story, one way or the other. Had they included us in their press blast in the first place, we would have been bound by any embargo they set for the information and you wouldn't be reading this from us. If it's actually true. But we haven't heard from them one way or the other, before or after the fact.

So, who knows? But we have been contacted by a number of other people reporting that they got the same initial press release email.

I'd like to hear from you guys your take on all of this. And do you think it would be smart of Marvel to cancel the event if this information was accurate but was leaked prematurely?

UPDATE: We've reached out to Marvel for comment. When we get one, we'll let you know.

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