When Stan Lee passed away in November 2018, he left behind a considerable legacy – especially in regard to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans have come to expect Lee’s cameos in every MCU movie – which are worth the price of admission alone – and they assumed the late, great Marvel hero would have his last in Avengers: Endgame, which hits theaters April 26.
But recent comments made by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige hint that there could be at least one more cameo in store for fans. And we think Marvel shouldn’t stop there.
It was previously all but a given that Lee’s last cameo filmed before his death was for this April’s Endgame. At a recent fan event over the weekend in India, Endgame co-director seemed to confirm as much: “I believe that his final cameo is in Endgame,” Russo said in a video posted to Twitter (see below).
— pinkvilla (@pinkvilla) April 1, 2019
The Marvel filmmaker speculated that Lee was not well enough to have recorded his cameo for July 5’s Spider-Man: Far From Home but the director could not be certain.
Back in March, while promoting Captain Marvel (which features one of the all-time best Lee cameos), Feige seemed to suggest that we would be seeing more of Lee in a post-Endgame world. When Entertainment Tonight asked Feige if Lee would appear in Far From Home, he said “we’ll see. [They] shot a couple of others, so we’re coming up on the last of them.”
Should Far From Home mark the final Lee cameo, a tradition that brought smiles to legions of fans would come to an end. It could also mark the start of a potential new beginning.
Now, before you start shaking your fists at the idea of Lee getting the CG Princess Leia or Grand Moff Tarkin treatment a la Rogue One, it’s important to note that years of footage of Lee has been shot. Similar to how Lucasfilm is using previous Force Awakens footage to help resurrect the late Carrie Fisher for Episode IX, Marvel could pull a J.J. Abrams and tweak pre-existing footage to accommodate the larger narrative as opposed to going the full CGI route. A Marvel source tells us that while Marvel currently has no plans to introduce a CG Lee into future Marvel movies, there is a chance that some unused footage or takes exist that could be re-shaped to satisfy future cameos – but, again, only if that were in the cards.
If it were, however, no one would be more pro-furthering his legacy than Stan the Man himself.
Lee was many things, among them a showman. He was enthusiastic about all of Marvel’s projects, even those made before the MCU (think Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man) – hence his cameos in those pre-MCU films. What were once mere Easter Eggs have now become woven in the fabric of every major Marvel movie narrative since 2008’s Iron Man. While there are justifiable ethical concerns regarding his continued appearance, it’s highly likely Lee would not share them. He would be delighted and the biggest proponent of spending a little more time in the spotlight –– albeit as long as it did not distract or detract from the bigger picture or fans’ overall enjoyment of the movie they paid significant portions of their allowance money to see several times in theaters.
Marvel’s biggest cheerleader was also one of the company’s biggest fans. His Marvel appearances are the Easter egg equivalent of comfort food. The only smiles bigger than those audiences had while watching him do his thing were the ones he sported while doing it. As unfortunate and sad as his passing was – and still is – the movies are the one place where he and his stamp on Marvel and pop-culture can live on long after the credits roll.
Whatever the future has in store for Marvel in a world post the Disney-Fox merger, with Marvel overseeing the next iterations of the X-Men and Fantastic Four, we hope it has room (just a scene’s worth) for more Stan Lee.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters April 26th.