UPDATE - 3:15 P.M. - CRISIS AVERT(ed)! We knew it to be a longshot, but series creator Dan Harmon has helpfully stepped up to debunk rumors of Brie's departure from 'Community' season 6:

Original article follows:

'Community' fans are used to a bit of emotional whiplash when it comes to renewal and cast departures, but its latest might truly be the darkest timeline of all. Following Chevy Chase and Donald Glover's exit from the series, one of 'Community' season 6's writers has suggested that comedy darling Alison Brie's role in the new season has not yet been confirmed.

Take this one with a minor grain of salt for now (our understanding was that Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs and Brie's contracts were all upheld from NBC) but a cryptic new exchange from 'Community' writer Ryan Ridley and a fan suggests that discussions have only just begun over Brie's character Annie, and her potential role in the premiere. See for yourself:

Uproxx also notes that Brie had not been observed to tweet about 'Community''s renewal, only speaking publicly about the series as of its initial cancellation in May. This is the first we're hearing of Brie's potential departure mind you, though Yvette Nicole Brown's involvement with CBS' 'Odd Couple' reboot had similarly raised questions of Shirley's role in 'Community' season 6, the first on Yahoo Screen, only to prove unfounded. Twitter responses like the above might easily be misconstrued as well, though writer-producer Chris McKenna had also given cryptic advance warning of 'Community''s season 5 demise, so staff isn't above giving honest responses over social media.

So far, we know of 'Community' season 6 that creator Dan Harmon and executive producer Chris McKenna will remain at the helm, while cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash, Danny Pudi, Ken Jeong and Yvette Nicole Brown have all signed on to return, and the Russo brothers will return to direct the premiere. Dan Harmon suggested that John Oliver could potentially return as 'Last Week Tonight' allowed, while any inclusion of Donald Glover might best be reserved for the seemingly inevitable movie.

Writing has presumably begun by now (which could also explain Ridley's "not sure" as merely a reference to the script), while Harmon himself has suggested we might see the 'Community' season 6 premiere after Christmas, or more likely in 2015. Production is also expected to keep the series in a weekly format, rather than Netflix's "all at once' model.

No one had exactly missed Chevy Chase's Pierce, though Donald Glover and Brie have long been considered two of 'Community''s brightest. In the meantime, we'll ask Annie if she's okay, Annie if she's okay, if she's okay, Annie, but tell us if you think 'Community' season 6 would survive the loss of Alison Brie!