There's no use in trying to argue it, Stan Lee is the king of cameos on the big screen – a benefit the Marvel Comics legend has enjoyed since he co-created some of the most iconic superhero characters in the history of pop culture. Of course, most of Lee's quick turns have often come in Marvel's feature films (he's also appeared in several TV cameos before them), starting out in 2000 in X-Men as the nondescript "hot dog vendor" who watched in shock as Bruce Davidson's newly-mutated Senator Kelly emerged from the ocean.
From there, he's often been billed simply as "Stan Lee," but leave it up to Lee to appear with pizzazz, like he did as a bathrobe-wearing Hugh Hefner-like character surrounded by women in the 2009 MCU entry Iron Man 2. There's no telling whether he's going to appear as himself or one of the characters he's created (don't forget he was mailman Willie Lumpkin in Fantastic Four in 2005), which was really part of the fun for viewers who have come to anticipate a cameo in nearly every Marvel film that's released.
Gathering from an Instagram post by Karen Gillan Saturday on the Atlanta set where Avengers: Infinity War is being shot, it didn't take much for fans to conclude that Lee would once again turn up somewhere in the film. After all, the Instagram photo is of Lee and Gillan in her Nebula makeup, so presumably the cameras were shooting scenes at the time.
With so many more MCU films in the making, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed Lee's days as a cameo actor are far from over. In an interview in the Maltin on Movies podcast for Nerdist, Feige said:
“Most recently he flew to Atlanta and shot four cameos in one day for upcoming projects, one of which I think is maybe the best one we’ve ever done. It’s a high bar for Stan.”
At the age of 94, the always effervescent Lee clearly has shown no signs of slowing down. Always sporting his trademark grin – whether it be in a photo with the likes of Gillan or at any number of Comic-Cons – Lee is clearly thrilled at the continuing success of the Marvel movie universe. His cameos have become a staple of several Marvel movies since 2000, whether it be for Disney and Marvel Studios with the Avengers films, Twentieth Century Fox with the X-Men films (as well as the Wolverine and Deadpool spinoffs), or Sony with the Spider-Man films.
Even though they're short appearances – sometimes they involve a simple reaction or maybe one line – they're always good for a laugh and whoop! when he pops up on screen. Word of at least four more Lee cameos in future Marvel films should be welcomed by his true believers with open arms, because the superhero world he helped create simply wouldn't be the same without him.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019