Superheroes have taken over the box office, bringing movies with both action and a bit of a scavenger hunt. Each new film is stuffed with more and more Easter eggs, giving hints as to how the world will continue to grow. Marvel Studios has especially perfected this process, getting fans to go back and watch movies multiple times to find them all.
However, there’s something that is just as fun as finding the Easter eggs, but far easier; with every new Marvel movie comes a new Stan Lee cameo. As the creator of Marvel Comics, Lee has made an appearance in nearly every movie based on stories he’s created. Usually, he serves fan some brief comedic relief, delivering snappy one-liners or chiding Thor for his alcohol over-exaggeration.
All these cameos are ideally building to something bigger for Stan Lee, but until then, fans take what they can get. He isn’t just popping up in Marvel movies, though. He’s appeared in countless other scenes, and though he’s also been seen in multiple video games, this list will stick to Stan Lee’s film and television roles.
Here are Stan Lee’s 15 Best Non-Marvel Cameos.
As superhero movies go, 2010’s Kick-Ass was one of the oddest, most hilarious hits. The film centered on Dave Lizewski, a high school student and devoted comic book fan who lives his life in the background. However, he changes this one day, when he decides to become a superhero… as one does.
The movie boasted a heavy-hitting cast, including Nicolas Cage and Chloe Grace Moretz. Kick-Ass himself was played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who, of course, would later becomes an actual superhero. Fans recognize him now as Quicksilver in the MCU. However, Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t Taylor-Johnson’s first encounter with Stan Lee’s work.
Lee makes a cameo in Kick-Ass as a man watching news footage. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it to the movie’s premiere, as he Tweeted that he was in Vegas giving a speech. He joked, “I’m surprised they didn’t change the premiere for me.”
14. Yoga Hosers
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuing to expand, it’s easy to think Stan Lee is just riding that out for cameos. However, in 2016, he made an appearance in a film called Yoga Hosers. The movie was a certified flop, earning a metascore of 23 and near universal negative reviews.
The story followed two teenage best friends from Winnipeg who spent their lives doing yoga, and who were stereotypically focusing on social media and impressing the school heartthrob – until they accidentally raise “an ancient evil, long buried beneath the Manitoba earth.”
Though the movie was widely overlooked, Stan Lee did appear as a dispatcher. The movie came from the mind of Kevin Smith, which might explain Stan Lee’s willingness to join on. The two previously worked together on Mallrats.
13. Pizza Man
There was a time in the early 2000s when Frankie Muniz was king of teen comedies. From Agent Cody Banks to Big Fat Liar, the young actor was in a ton of films. After Malcolm in the Middle finished its run, Muniz dropped off a bit, taking more minor roles. Then, in 2011, Muniz returned as the hero in Pizza Man.
The superhero movie went mostly under the radar, perhaps because of its truly cringeworthy origin story. Matt Burns, a pizza delivery boy played by Muniz, wakes up with superhuman strength after eating a genetically altered tomato. His supervillain? A corporation trying to steal his powers.
One of HBO’s most popular sitcoms over the years, Entourage managed to dive into the world of movie-making while still being funny and relatable. As it explored Hollywood, the show snagged major stars for cameos, including Mark Wahlberg and Jessica Alba.
Stan Lee appeared in the latter half of the show’s run, making his cameo in Season 7’s “Bottoms Up”. His office also made a cameo, revealing his impressive collection of Marvel artwork and merchandise. Contrary to most of his other cameos, Lee is very nice and sincere, lacking his signature sarcasm.
In fact, Vince (played by Adrian Grenier) actually messes with Stan a bit, dancing around the fact that his companion Sasha Gray is a porn star. Given Stan Lee’s comic ability, this seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.
11. American Dad!
Stan Lee doesn’t always appear in person during a cameo, and this was the case for American Dad!, where Lee served as the narrator for the Season 10 episode “A Star is Reborn”. During the episode, Stan and Francine head out to Hollywood on vacation. In a classic turn of events, Stan is mistaken as the reincarnation of Leonard Zane. Zane’s widow, the actress making the assumption, then uses Stan to make one last film.
American Dad! has tied in Marvel before, mentioning Spider-Man in multiple episodes, including “A Star Is Reborn”. In “A Boy Named Michael”, Roger buys a Spider-Man backpack for the son his friends recently adopted. Stan Smith, then pokes fun at the character using cheese dip to climb up the walls of the house.
Before Zachary Levi was Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert, he was just Chuck. Well, Chuck wasn’t “just” ordinary – he managed to download government secrets into his brain. The NBC comedy struggled to find its footing, both on the network and on Netflix, but for many it was a beloved show.
Chuck was more of a spy than a superhero, but the idea still managed to attract Stan Lee, and he appeared in season five’s “Chuck Versus the Santa Suit”. Lee isn’t the one in the titular santa suit, but he does play a character well within his wheelhouse: a spy hoping to catch one of his coworkers under the mistletoe.
9. Robot Chicken
More often than not, a stop-motion animation series can struggle to find a fan base. However, Robot Chicken had the complete opposite problem, as the show only grew after its debut in 2001. The show took the classic weirdness of stop-motion animation and made it even more demented, thanks to the minds of Seth Green and Matthew Senreich.
With the right amount off oddities, it’s not unlikely to find Stan Lee nearby. He made three cameos for the show, starting in 2007. His first was in “Tapping a Hero”, and he returned in 2012 for “Executed by the State”. Lee appeared once more in 2013, as part of “Robot Fight Incident”.
8. Video Game High School
Most of Stan Lee’s cameos are in films or TV series, but he did briefly visit the web series world. Video Game High School, created by Rocket Jump Studios, featured a futuristic world where playing video games was the most popular sport. The series followed Brian D and his friends, as they attended a school that specifically used video games in each genre as its curriculum.
Stan Lee’s cameo is this series was much more similar to his Marvel cameos: fleeting. He appears during “Welcome to Varsity” as a man on the news. During a Reddit AMA, the creators of the series revealed that the cameo was made possible by acquaintances. The series’ co-director Freddie Wong managed to meet Lee and, as they wrote, “world’s collided. Requests were made. Hands were shaken. Cameos were given.”
7. Muppet Babies
When raising kids, it’s important to teach them about quality comics. Luckily, Muppet Babies has got it covered. In it’s episode “Comic Capers”, the babies read the Sunday comics and decide to make their own.
Stan Lee makes his appearance following their Spider-Man story segment, joking that there’s only one real Spider-Man (because if anyone can get away with sassing Muppet Babies, it’s Stan Lee). However, the Babies won’t stand for that, and the bit ends with Stan Lee getting doused with spider “webs.”
In this episode, the wall-crawler is voiced by Full House‘s Dave Coulier. The segment lands strongly, especially since Spider-Man is Stan Lee’s favorite superhero. The episode also brought in other comics, including Peanuts, Blondie, Dick Tracy, Popeye, and Little Orphan Annie, among others.
Stan Lee created most of today’s greatest super heroes, but not all of them. NBC’s Heroes gave him the perfect opportunity to stay in his favorite world, and still get a cameo out of it. Lee appeared in Chapter 16 of the series, in the episode “Unexpected”, where he played the bus driver who picks up Hiro Nakamura.
In behind-the-scenes footage from the episode, Lee and Masi Oka (who played Hiro) joked about Lee’s lines and how they’d improvised the scene. Lee corrected Oka saying “no no, my words. I don’t have lines, I have three words.”
5. Return to Nuke ‘Em High, Vol. 1
There’s no mistaking the voice of Stan Lee, even when he’s uncredited. Troma Entertainment took full advantage of that and brought him on as the narrator in Return To Nuke ‘Em High, Vol. 1. The series was more of a sci-fi horror comedy, centering on mutated glee club members, leaving Stan Lee plenty of room to have some fun.
Today, Troma and Marvel are connected by more than just this movie and Stan Lee. James Gunn got his start at Troma, writing scripts for films including the live-action Scooby-Doo and its sequel. Now, Gunn is writing and directing the Guardians of the Galaxy movies for Marvel.
4. The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Some major stars had roles in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. The cast was led by Julie Andrews, Chris Pine, and Anne Hathaway, and featured appearances from Raven-Symoné and Spencer Breslin. However, the cameo that most fans missed in the movie came from none other than Stan Lee – he plays a guest at Mia’s wedding.
No one has ever quite figured out how or why this cameo came to be, but fans are eternally grateful it did. In true Stan Lee style, his character is a forward one, hitting on Queen Clarisse. According to his “granddaughter,” he learned his english by watching The Three Stooges. He strikes out, but goes down in a blaze of glory.
Every once in awhile, a movie completely flops at the box office, but still becomes a hit. Kevin Smith’s Mallrats is a perfect example. The comedy snagged some biggest stars, including Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, and Shannon Doherty, and managed to become a cult classic.
Technically, Stan Lee’s appearance in the film wasn’t a cameo. As he pointed out at Denver Comic Con in 2016, he had an actual role in the film, just as himself. Lee was set to appear in the sequel, but it was turned into a TV series and was eventually scrapped. Ironically, Guardians of the Galaxy‘s future Yondu, Michael Rooker, also starred in the movie.
Despite being responsible for the creation of an entire cinematic universe and having countless cameos, Stan Lee has said Mallrats is his favorite cameo to date.
2. The Big Bang Theory
With the number of comic references in CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, it was only a matter of time before Stan Lee popped up in an episode. This moment came in the show’s third season, during the episode aptly titled “The Excelsior Acquisition”. Like most of his cameos, Stan Lee plays himself in the episode, visiting Stuart’s comic book store to sign autographs.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, for Lee) Sheldon is unable to attend the event, as he’s scheduled to be in court. However, in the end, Penny comes through for Sheldon, taking him to visit Stan Lee at home.
Proving just how cool he is, Lee answers the door in a Fantastic Four robe with a curt “yeah?” What follows is about a minute and a half of prime Stan Lee sarcasm, only made funnier by Sheldon’s lack of understanding.
Stan Lee’s wife even gets name dropped in the scene, though she doesn’t actually appear.
1. The Simpsons
There are few shows that have runs as long as The Simpsons. The series debuted in 1989, introducing iconic characters and hilarious gags. It has attracted a slew of guest stars over the years, including Stan Lee. In fact, he’s lent his voice to the show in three separate episodes.
He first appears as himself in 2002. In “I Am Furious Yellow”, Bart Simpson’s comic about his dad goes viral online. Stan Lee is less than impressed with it, saying his “stinky” sense is tingling. As an added jab at DC, Lee makes a point to place an X-Men comic in front of Superman one at the comic store.
Stan Lee returned to The Simpsons as himself twice more. He can be found in “Married to the Blob” and “The Caper Chase”.
Can you think of any other Stan Lee cameos outside of Marvel movies? Tell us about them in the comment section!
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