SPOILERS for Once Upon a Deadpool
The filmmakers behind Once Upon a Deadpool included a Stan Lee cameo, and it's sure to be an emotional moment for fans. Lee, of course, was the Marvel Comics legend responsible for co-creating several of the superheroes that are international box office stars today. His ubiquitous cameos were a fond staple of the Marvel movies, and there was no telling what character he'd play next. Though Lee didn't have a hand in creating Deadpool, he still showed up in the Merc With a Mouth's first film back in 2016, appearing as a DJ at a strip club.
Deadpool 2's theatrical R-rated cut did not include Stan the Man in the flesh, but Lee's face was shown in graffiti on the side of a building during the film's hilarious X-Force sequence. For Once Upon a Deadpool, the art is updated to include "RIP" as a means of commemorating the late Lee, who passed away in November 2018. That certainly was a nice gesture on the part of the creative team, but it was nothing compared to the movie's final post-credits scene.
The Deadpool franchise is known for its vulgar and excessive sense of humor and violence, playing up those aspects for adult-orientated comedy. So few would have expected to walk out of Once Upon a Deadpool feeling genuinely emotional, but that's what happened. The PG-13 re-edit features multiple post-credits scenes; most of which are strictly meant for laughs and feature more antics between Deadpool and Fred Savage. The final one, however, serves as a touching tribute to Lee. Fans are treated to outtakes of Lee's cameo from Logan's Deadpool 2 teaser and then an interview clip where Lee discusses how humbled he was by his success and says he doesn't care about what happens after his death.
Once Upon a Deadpool is the first Marvel movie to hit theaters after Lee's passing (beating Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse by a couple of days), and it's clear Ryan Reynolds and company felt they should do something to pay their respects and honor Lee's incredible legacy. It arguably would have been odd if a Marvel film (even one starring a character Lee didn't co-create) didn't address it at all. The "RIP" graffiti seemed to accomplish this and was cheekily on-brand for Deadpool, but someone of Lee's stature deserved something that was a little more poignant and reflective. In some respects, Once Upon a Deadpool set a very high bar for the MCU to clear when it comes to Lee tributes. We previously suggested Lee should be the Avengers 4 post-credits scene, but now Kevin Feige may have to think of something different.
The general consensus for Once Upon a Deadpool is that it's an OK time at the theater, with the Fred Savage bits proving the character can work within the confines of a PG-13 rating. However, it's quite apparent watching the film is akin to seeing a TV edit of Deadpool 2, causing some to question if it's worth catching on the big screen. The Lee post-credits scene makes the experience worth it, and Marvel fans should definitely make the trip if they can.