The S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show filming start date has been leaked – shooting will begin within the next few months, according to an audition announcement.

S.H.I.E.L.D. will begin shooting in January in Los Angeles according to TVShowAuditions, which releases information for extras and budding actors. The announcement below essentially explains what we’ve already known, which is that the show will take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that agent Coulson (RIP) will be resurrected for the television show.

It also reaffirms that Avengers 2 director Joss Whedon will be directing the pilot episode from a teleplay written by himself, his brother Jed, and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen. If the show is picked up by ABC, Marvel’s TV exec. Jeph Loeb will be the executive producer.

The official announcement from the audition company:

“S.H.I.E.L.D.” will begin shooting mid-January, 2013 in Los Angeles.

The Walt Disney Company’s Marvel Television division of Marvel Entertainment is currently in pre-production for a new television series pilot titled “S.H.I.E.L.D.” for ABC. Casting directors in Los Angeles and New York are holding auditions for series regulars, recurring roles, and guest starring roles. The show’s extras will be cast throughout the season, which begins shooting in Los Angeles mid-January, 2012. “S.H.I.E.L.D.” will be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sharing constancy with the films in that franchise.

Academy Award winner Joss Whedon will direct the pilot episode from a teleplay written by himself, brother Jed Whedon and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen. Joss Whedon directed and co-wrote the Marvel Studios feature films “Thor” and “The Avengers,” served as consultant on “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and is also going to direct “The Avengers 2”. Jed Whedon and his wife Maurissa Tancharoen worked together on “The Avengers,” and they will be showrunners/executive producers on “S.H.I.E.L.D.” with Jeffrey Bell if it is picked up to series by ABC. Jeph Loeb, Marvel Television Executive Vice President Head of Television, will also executive produce.

“S.H.I.E.L.D.” will be independent from “The Avengers” film, and people who haven’t seen the Marvel movies can jump right in and understand the storylines. There will generally be new characters and agents who are not superheroes, and even though they are a large organization, they will be underdogs since they still exist in that superhero universe. Clark Gregg is playing Agent Phil Coulson, the same role he has played in “Iron Man I & II,” “Thor,” and “The Avengers”. The series will center on his character. Screen Actors Guild Awards nominee Ming-Na Wen has been cast as as Agent Melinda May, an ace pilot and weapons expert.

From previous reports, we know these are a few possibilities of how agent Phil Coulson will be involved in the show:

1) S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place in a pre-Avengers universe where Phil Coulson is still alive. Currently, since Whedon threw that “let’s keep it real” sentence on the table, this seems like our most viable option.

2) Agent Phil Coulson never died and Nick Fury pretended he did to get the Avengers into action. We know that Nick Fury is a manipulative guy, so this card (much like Coulson’s vintage Cap cards that Fury DIRTIED WITH COULSON’S BLOOD) is never off the table.

3) Phil Coulson died and the show will follow his “life-model decoy,” which is something that Tony Stark mentions as a throwaway gag in The Avengers but probably is perfectly capable of building. Part of the humor, we’re sure, might be akin to the fact that Coulson has always been slightly robotic and hasn’t changed much since his death.

Fan speculation has led to the idea that Coulson might be reborn as The Vision, but until we hear those exact words come from Whedon’s mouth, we’re not sure that’s something we want to endorse.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Bean.

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