Director and screenwriter Joss Whedon and crew officially began production on the Albuquerque, New Mexico set of The Avengers today and there's a slick set photo teaser to prove it. Chilling in front of a seeming S.H.I.E.L.D. corridor are chairs for four of Earth's Mightiest Heroes including Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America and new Hulk Mark Ruffalo. Fans can count on the big four being joined by Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury -- fitting eight chairs into this shot seems like a bit much to ask of busy crew working to meet a May 4, 2012 deadline, though.Marvel still hasn't revealed the gritty plot details of the Avengers film, although plenty of rumors hint at an extraterrestrial threat. That's an easy pill to swallow when you consider movie Asgard is supposedly a planet. Whether it's Loki on his own, Skrulls or the Kree (or all of the above) fans can count on something big to unite the team. Let's look at the official synopsis again, shall we?

"When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster.

All I really need to see is the Hulk in a circus to leave the theater happy, but an unexpected enemy is fine too.

[Via Marvel.com]