SPOILER ALERT: These days with all the movie merchandise spin-offs it is very difficult to keep the plot deals of a blockbuster film under wraps when all those toys, games, and cards have to come out well before the movie debuts.  Case in point, Joss Whedon’s Avengers—snapshots of a board game from Jakks Pacific based on the superhero movie reveal plastic playing pieces of pointy-eared, big chinned aliens that bear a considerable resemblance to the Skrull.
Now this wouldn’t be such a big deal if Marvel Studio’s prexy Kevin Feige hadn’t gone out of his way to deny that the Skrull would be the villains in the Avengers film (see “Skrulls Aren’t the Avengers Villains”).  Now Feige didn’t deny the ample evidence that there were alien invaders in the Avengers movie (see “Spoiler Alert: Photos Reveal Avengers Alien Menace”), he simply said that though the outer space invaders in the film did have comic book antecedents, “it’s not the Skrulls.  I’ve been clear about that.  The identity of the alien race is not impactful.”
Of course Feige’s denials don’t jibe with the plastic pieces from the Hasbro Avengers board game photographed by MTV Geek, which tend to confirm the Skrull rumor that got its start with an inadvertent leak to a New Mexico newspaper that was covering the first stages of The Avengers movie shoot (see “Kree-Skrull War in Avengers Movie?”).  
Why would Marvel want to deny what appears to be obvious?  Perhaps because the Skrulls originally appeared in Fantastic Four #2 (January of 1962) and thus could be tied up in the FF license, which is currently held by Fox.  In that case it would make sense to call “the Skrulls” something else to avoid lawsuits in the litigation-happy Hollywood environment.  But would a shape-shifting Skrull by any other name be as insidiously menacing?  Marvel movie fans may have to wait until Whedon's The Avengers debuts on May 4th to find out.