Good old Stan Lee.
Let’s all hope this aging gem of a man never, ever dies.
Let’s hope it really hard, too, because he’s ninety three years old, and looking a bit frail.
News broke a few months ago that the man who essentially built Marvel comics (or at least took the credit for doing so) has filmed a bunch of scenes to be used as cameo appearances in later movies—the official logic being that, as he’s not as mobile as he used to be, a single day of filming made more sense than dragging him to a studio lot four times a year.
Unofficially, though, fans speculate that Marvel’s trying to get as many Stan Lee appearances in the can as possible before the old man croaks.
Now, James Gunn has come forward, talking about his experience working with Lee on these cameos, and describes the day they spent together as “one of the most fun times I’ve ever had on set”.
Gunn took to Facebook to express his enjoyment for the day:
“There are few people in this world I love and admire more and have more fun with than Stan Lee. Even though he does love breaking my, and everyone else's balls (I introduced him to Tom Holland for the first time and he said, "Everyone says you're great! Personally, I don't see it.").”
According to Gunn, the day went exactly as you’d expect: Lee walked in, the director fed him lines over and over, and they got as many different takes as they possibly could.
“If you've seen the Doctor Strange cameo, it was one of MANY versions I shot on the day, and Scott Derrickson chose the final one. If I'm writing for Stan, why give him one line when I can give him a thousand? I just kept throwing lines at him one after the other, until we were all doubled over with laughter. Someday, after you've seen the movie, maybe Marvel Studios will let me share some of those with you.”
Perhaps more likely is that Marvel will keep these extra takes under lock and key, on the off chance that they can slot them into another movie later on down the line, after Lee’s inevitable one-way hearse ride.
It is fun to speculate on the kinds of scenes that Lee might have shot, though. The logical way to do these would be to film Lee against a green screen so he can be inserted into any movie at any point at a later date, but with Tom Holland confirmed to have been on set, perhaps there may be interactions with characters from the several Marvel movies that were filming at the time.
Of these four cameos, the Doctor Strange one is already in the wild, but there’ll be no spoilers here, so don’t worry.
So what’s left? Hopefully a dance-off between Star Lord and Lee in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Or maybe Lee will tell Peter Quill to turn off his hippie music or something. Anything will do as long as his cameo’s slightly more engaging than his appearance in the first Guardians movie, where he played a boring space pervert.
For Thor: Ragnarok, Lee could be a friend of Hobo Odin (HobOdin?), hanging out under a subway bridge, yelling about the end of the world.
Bonus points if this cameo can also hint that Lee is The Watcher in disguise, without actually saying so—the character is owned by Fox.
Finally, for Spider-Man: Homecoming, the best option is for Lee to perfectly repeat his performance in Sam Raimi’s final Spider-Man movie.
This time around, though, he should say “I guess that three men, two of them in their mid twenties but still inexplicably pretending to be high school students, really can make a difference”.