A big part of the fun in all the movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the appearance of a very special person: Stan Lee. The legendary comic book writer has had cameo appearances in all Marvel Studios movies so far, as well as in some other Marvel properties such as 20th Century Fox's X-Men and Sony's Spider-Man.
His cameos don’t seem to have any connection whatsoever, especially because he has appeared in very different situations: from a general in World War II to a modern day beauty pageant judge. However, everything in the MCU is connected, including the TV and Netflix series, so why wouldn’t Lee’s cameos be connected as well?
YouTube user The Lamppost found the connecting string between all of Lee’s cameos in the MCU up to date and explains it in a new video (above). The theory says that each appearance of the comic legend is the same character or is at least related in some way or another.
For a clearer explanation, The Lamppost organized the movies in chronological order, starting with Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter and ending with Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man. Setting the beginnings of Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. aside, the video begins its explanation with the first Iron Man movie. Here – as well as in Iron Man 2 – we see Lee attending the same party as Tony Stark, which already puts him in sort of “celebrity” status.
Jumping then to The Incredible Hulk, Lee drinks gamma radiated soda, leading him to the hospital and then back to his hometown in New Mexico, where he comes across Mjölnir, and later Thor himself. With the town destroyed after the events in Thor, Lee moves to New York in time for the Chitauri invasion when The Avengers assembled for the first time. Poor Lee can’t seem to escape superheroes.
After judging a beauty pageant in Iron Man 3, Lee flew to London in an attempt to escape from superheroes, but after a night of heavy drinking, he is taken into custody. Once there he meets a confused Dr. Selvig who steals his shoe to explain the theory of convergence, which explains his appearance in Thor: The Dark World. Lee then takes a trip to Italy, where he comes across a father, Phil Coulson, and what appears to be his daughter having a heated argument on the train - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Lee eventually returns to the U.S. and gets a new job in Washington DC as a security guard at The Smithsonian – where Captain America takes his old suit from in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Skipping Guardians of the Galaxy for a bit, Lee is invited to the new Avengers tower where he takes on Thor’s challenge and a drink not meant for mortal men – you know how that turned out in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Finally, after all the damage that has been done, Captain America gets him a job as a bartender, where he makes it into one of Luis’ fun stories in Ant-Man.
Now, back in time to Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter: the Lee seen here is actually Stan Lee Sr. At some point, Stan Sr. goes missing, which prompts Stan Jr. – who is now a police officer – to look for clues on his father’s disappearance, which is why in the Netflix series Stan Jr. has appeared in photographs in police stations. As for Stan Sr. he was abducted by Ravagers, which explains why we see him in Xandar in Guardians of the Galaxy. And that’s how all of Lee’s cameos are connected, according to The Lamppost.
Clearly there was a lot of thought and time invested in this theory, which makes sense in some points but feels forced in others. Still, it’s a fun way to look at the many appearances of the king of cameos. It remains to be seen how his cameos in Captain America: Civil War and later in Doctor Strange will fall into this story.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange– 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; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.
Source: The Lamppost