How A Car Commercial Impacted The Marvel Cinematic Universe

When we talk about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we're largely talking about Marvel Studios movies – at least until those Disney+ shows debut. Yes, TV series like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, and the Marvel Netflix shows were technically set in that same universe, but let's be real: so far, the movies are the non-comic stories with the biggest sense of importance. They're the ones that count. It's strange, then, that a commercial – which is way less relevant than any of those TV shows – could end up having an influence on a major MCU entry.

During our visit to the set of Spider-Man: Far From Home, we learned how a car commercial caught the eye of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and how a character that originated in a tie-in advertisement ended up appearing as a supporting role in the MCU. Check out the commercial and read about its impact below.

On the London set of Far From Home, executive producer Eric Hauserman Carroll told us about a few members of the movie's supporting cast who will be joining Peter Parker and his young friends on their international vacation, including a new addition to the MCU who first appeared in an Audi commercial:

"We're also bringing back Martin Starr as the hapless Mr. Harrington. And to round out the team of chaperones on this trip, we are adding to the cast J.B. Smoove as a character named Mr. Dell. Together they constitute the least capable group of chaperones ever to be sent to Europe with a bunch of kids. Obviously Martin Starr was hilarious in the first movie. When we knew we wanted a teacher to be escorting these kids across Europe, he was our first choice. And then when we decided to round it out, the idea to cast J.B. Smoove actually came out of this great Audi commercial he did for the first movie."

Typically, the studio doesn't allow "in-world content" to be created outside of Marvel Studios, so why did they make an exception here? Carroll explains:

"We loved the pitch from Audi so much, especially when they told us J.B. was attached, that we let them run with it. We were not disappointed. We actually put it on the DVD because we thought it was so funny. I remember on the first movie, Kevin [Feige] was like, after he saw that Audi [commercial], he was like, 'J.B.'s going to be in the next movie, I bet.'

"So sure enough, now we've got these two as this amazing comedic pair showing these kids around Europe. You've got this hilariously understated thing from Martin Starr where he's like, 'OK kids, um, there's a water monster, so why don't we go this way?' and you've got J.B. Smoove doing the exact opposite: 'Are you guys seeing this?!' So we think they're very funny on their own, and they both opportunities to be funny on their own, but they're also funny together."

For much more about Spider-Man's newest adventure, be sure to read our full set visit report, whether the new film will include J. Jonah Jameson and The Daily Bugle, and our interviews with director Jon Watts and actors Tom Holland, Jacob Batalon, and Jon Favreau.

Spider-Man: Far From Home arrives in theaters on July 2, 2019.