Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe is constantly expanding, with planned films slated to go on into the 2020s, fans of its many franchises know two things to be true at each movie premiere: the films should not be upheld as direct interpretations of the comics, and Stan Lee is going to show up somewhere. Lee, who has acted in all kinds of creative and leadership roles for Marvel Comics since the 1950s, is one of the minds behind such iconic titles as Fantastic Four and The Avengers. As such, Marvel's 21st century films have consistently paid tribute to Lee, who is now a household name himself, with comedic cameo roles.
As the inimitable creator grows older, the Marvel creator is less capable of traveling for his expected film cameos, but that hasn't stopped the 93-year-old from fulfilling his duty to fans worldwide. During a Q&A after a special Captain America: Civil War screening recently, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige divulged that Lee has a superpower of his own: the ability to star in as many as four films in one day.
After an audience member asked Feige if Lee's roles were predetermined or spur-of-the-moment during production, the studio president answered (via Cinemablend):
"We do not shoot random ones. They're always very specific,... A couple of months ago in Atlanta, he flew down and we shot four in one day -- for four various projects. They're all awesome! They're all totally different. And he was unbelievable. He was on fire. He came in, he sat here, he stood there, he stood in this window, and then he went home."
Given his sharp comedic timing in his Marvel appearances, it is not at all surprising that the former Marvel Comics chairman is able to knock out several cameos in one day. Fans most recently enjoyed appearances by Lee in X-Men: Apocalypse, where he and his wife played horrified civilians, and Deadpool, where he played an MC at a gentleman's club.
It's likely that some of these cameos filmed "a couple of months" ago were for upcoming releases Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok, both of which are still in production, but we're not sure which other two films Lee shot for down South. Perhaps he contributed to Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, both of which are now in post-production, or even upcoming titles like Black Panther or Avengers: Infinity War. After all, Lee has confirmed roles in at least three of those upcoming titles.
No matter what, fans are happy to look forward to Stan Lee cameos as a wink by directors -- it's just a matter of how much longer the legendary man will be able to fire out cameos, especially given the alarming rate at which the MCU continues to grow.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers 4 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet-untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.