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Are Car Commercials The New Movie Trailers?

Captain America: Civil War just debuted 90 seconds of new Black Panther footage for an Audi ad.

Are Car Commercials The New Movie Trailers?

Captain America: Civil War has a lot of work to do in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It features a whole bunch of the heroes fans have seen develop in the sprawling franchise–not just Captain America, but also Iron Man, Ant-Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Falcon, The Vision, Scarlet Witch, and more. Additionally, it’s got to introduce not one but two of the universe’s next franchise stars: the Black Panther and an all-new Spider-Man. That’s a burden that seems like it could be downright taxing on a movie that also has to, you know, tell a satisfying story–which may be why Marvel is getting creative in how it introduces those new heroes. To wit: The first extended glimpse of the Black Panther comes in a 90-second Audi ad.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a superhero blockbuster debut a lot of new footage in a car commercial–last month’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice revealed a fair bit of the film’s first few minutes in a Jeep ad. Nonetheless, it’s a surprise to get so much of the Black Panther–a much-anticipated character who’ll be helming his own film in a little over two years, whose appearance in the trailers has been intentionally limited–dropped into an Audi ad.

The ad is a combination of cornball jokes and footage directly out of Civil War. Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier gets chased through a tunnel by Captain America and the Black Panther, who seem to have very different intentions for their target when they get him–all while a family driving their Audi through the tunnel makes corny wisecracks about the events unfolding around them. It’s not exactly consistent with the intensity of the scene around them, but it once more highlights the difference between Marvel’s “keep it fun” take on superheroes and Warner/DC’s “keep it grim” ethos–Batman and Superman would never let themselves be interrupted by dad jokes. And until we see a Mercedes logo pop up on Poe Dameron’s X-Wing, we’ll assume that the car commercial/movie trailer mashup trend is going to mostly be a superhero trend.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.