Warning! SPOILERS for Captain Marvel
Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck talk about tweaking Stan Lee's mandatory cameo in Captain Marvel after his death. The legendary comic book writer - who was among the pioneers of Marvel Comics - died late last year at the age of 95 after suffering a series of health issues over the last couple of years that forced him to start skipping public engagements. As with every Marvel Studios movie (and a handful of others), the latest MCU installment featured an appearance from the comic book pioneer. But in light of his passing, Boden and Fleck opted to pull a last-minute change with Lee's previously filmed scene.
Lee's cameo took place early on in Captain Marvel during Carol Danvers' (Brie Larson) Los Angeles subway action sequence, which saw her tracking a Skrull imposter that had followed her to Earth after she escaped their captivity, and had been changing his appearance to blend in. As Danvers scanned the train, she spotted Lee, playing himself, rehearsing his lines for his appearance in the 1995 movie Mallrats directed by Kevin Smith. As it turns out, the original cut didn't have the camera pan back to Danvers, who smiled to herself, as she continued her hunt for the Skrull infiltrator.
Speaking with Mashable while doing the press rounds for Captain Marvel, Boden and Fleck explained the process that led them to add that reverse shot of Danvers after Stan Lee's cameo. According to the filmmakers, Captain Marvel's reaction encapsulates what the public feels watching these Marvel films knowing that Lee's gone. "Instead of just the pure laugh we had, we had a little bit of a smile from Captain Marvel in response to it, and she kind of breaks character for a moment. I think it reflects a little bit of what the audience is feeling, and we allowed that to happen," Boden said.
But even before the film started, there's already a tribute to Lee - something that Fleck said was presented to them by people from Marvel Studios. Upon hearing what they were planning, they were both immediately onboard. "The Marvel logo was a Marvel thing that they presented to us. They said, 'Hey guys, what do you think of this? We were thinking of doing this for the movie'," he said. Boden shared that they both cried when they heard about the idea and were extremely grateful they were able to work with him before he passed. "We feel really lucky to have gotten the opportunity to meet him, and have that special moment on set. There's so much reverence when he comes around, and he brings so much life and respect there with him," she revealed.
As fans know, Lee filmed his last few Marvel Studios cameos at the same time, so his appearance in next month's Avengers: Endgame has already been locked in. It's unknown how many more cameos he's shot, but right now, fans are assured to see him again on the big screen, perhaps for one last time. What's unclear now is whether or not Avengers 4 directors Joe and Anthony Russo are planning to also tweak their pre-filmed Lee cameo the way Boden and Fleck did for Captain Marvel. One thing's for sure: however his possibly final cameo pans out, it'll be emotional to watch for fans, especially those whose lives he deeply touched via his life's work.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019