It’s now just over six months until Captain America: Civil War hits theaters, and fans have yet to see an official trailer – or even much in the way of official marketing of the next big Marvel Cinematic Universe event. Sure, there was a brief glimpse at what’s to come at the end of this summer’s Ant-Man, and a sizzle reel was shown at Disney’s D23 Expo and at AsiaPop ComicCon Manila, but that footage has yet to make its way online in any official capacity.
So what’s the hold up? Traditionally, late October has been a big month for promoting Marvel’s subsequent May openings, with the trailers for Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3 -- all first-weekend-in-May releases like Captain America: Civil War -- each debuting in late October. Other Marvel May openings had even longer lead-ins, with Iron Man launching its first trailer in September, 2007. On the other hand, Iron Man 2 did not get an official trailer release until the December before its May opening.
With it uniting so many characters and introducing newcomers such as Black Panther and Spider-Man, Captain America: Civil War could be the biggest Marvel movie event since the first Avengers film – possibly even bigger than Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, the film’s marketing machine has yet to be booted up. No official shots of the cast have been released, and even leaked concept art showing the film’s different superhero factions has received no official response. But judging by the standard window for Marvel’s May releases, we’re quickly approaching the timeframe in which something should be released.
But in the case of Captain America: Civil War, there might be a larger marketing game afoot. With its next major blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens dominating fans' minds right now, Disney likely doesn’t want to compete with itself. There isn’t a lot of fandom oxygen for Captain America: Civil War to breathe right now, and the House of Mouse might want to ration it between franchises. While it’s unlikely that releasing a Captain America: Civil War trailer at the height of Star Wars: The Force Awakens mania would ultimately detract too much from either release, Disney may just be looking for a way for both to maximize their windows.
So when can fans expect to see an official trailer for Captain America: Civil War? The likely answer is, later rather than sooner. While Marvel could push something out in the next week or two to fit its traditional six month timeframe, Captain America: Civil War seems to be generating buzz based on its premise alone. Furthermore, Disney is likely wanting to coordinate its marketing efforts between its various franchises, making some time closer to December a much more likely window to release a Captain America: Civil War trailer – possibly alongside Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The last three major Marvel trailers debuted with Disney TV properties, two of them Marvel TV shows, which means that a Captain America: Civil War trailer could air alongside a Star Wars retrospective (which would almost certainly air on ABC), or even, as the last Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer did, during an event like Monday Night Football on ESPN, a Disney owned network with a highly desirable demographic.