Towards the end of the two-minute trailer, the bear and the bird are seen flying a customized plane towards a huge model of Mario, before blasting the revered plumber's head clean off! The cheek! Later versions of the same footage have had the decapitation edited out (there is an unedited version after the break), which suggests that Rare got a slapped wrist over the (hardly scandalous) "scandal."
Anyway, with grim predictability, this scene resulted in the entire internet getting its panties in a bunch. Everywhere one looked, people were speculating boringly over what this could possibly mean. And now, Rare has enlightened us: it means nothing. Zilch. It was all a bit of light-hearted fun. Haha.
MTV's Stephen Totilo spoke to lead software engineer Salvatore Fileccia about the cameo, and came away with the impression that some rascal at Rare had constructed the Mario figure using the game's vehicle editor, and that the scene had been added to the trailer at the last minute, with Microsoft none the wiser. But before you all grab your pitchforks, know that Rare still has tons of respect for Mario, with Fileccia himself commenting at the presentation of the trailer: "Action platformers have gotten a bit stale, except for Mario."
Crisis over, then. Now back to praying for a Banjo game on the Virtual Console.