A couple of people have pointed me toward a post by ex-WotC designer Charles Ryan on the "D&D UK" group, where he includes a picture of the cover of the upcoming D&D Essentials boxed set. Here's the picture:
Charles explains in a note that this cover is different than the one he'd posted previousy, but that he felt this new one was "the most accurate" since "this is what's on the solicitation."
Am I the only one who thinks it's virtually impossible that the cover above is the one WotC is using? Sure, the D&D Essentials boxed set is partially an exercise in nostalgia, but I highly doubt WotC would simply use the exact same cover as the 1983 Mentzer Basic Rules, right down to the old D&D logo. I mean, this picture doesn't even include the words "D&D Essentials" anywhere.
Consequently, I suspect that the above picture is just a mock-up that somehow managed to make it into the retail solicitation catalog rather than the real thing. If I'm wrong, then that's interesting on numerous levels and I'll probably have some things to say about it. Right now, though, I have a hard time taking it seriously.