According to some sources, Stan Lee appeared in about 60 cameos for Marvel films and television, but which were amongst his favorites? Here are five that Stan loved, fans loved, or that I’ve really enjoyed personally.
Stan loved all his cameos, of course, but he often stated his favorite was from Avengers: Age of Ultron, when he actually had two scenes in the movie (and that doesn’t include an after-credit scene!). He not only got to take on a drinking challenge from the Mighty Thor himself, he also got a slurred “Excelsior!” line as he was carried out of the bar after partaking in the potent Asgardian brew.
This Veterans Day week, it’s pertinent to note that Stan appeared alongside other veterans in this Age of Ultron scene, including famous comicbook artist and inker Joe Sinnott, who worked on Fantastic Four, Thor, Avengers and countless other comicbook titles. Sinnott was filmed separately then inserted into the cameo in post-production and didn’t have the actual pleasure of “sharing the stage” with his old friend, Stan, on the set.
Stan’s foremost fan-favorite cameo may be one of two. The first one that usually gets cited is Stan appearing as a space traveler who carries on a one-sided conversation with a trio of Watchers in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Not only does Stan get more lines than usual, but he appears again post-credits as he carries on his narration ad nauseum while the Watchers turn their back on him and leave.
Fans love this cameo because in many fan-theories this implies that Stan Lee is a fellow cosmic entity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the level of the Watchers themselves, though he does rather tend to run on a bit. This cameo has actually been turned into a number of toys and figures as seen below.
The second fan favorite might be more for quotability than anything else. This quotable Stan Lee cameo comes from Captain America: Civil War. Towards the end of the film Stan appears as a messenger with a FedEx package who misreads the label and asks for “Tony Stank.” Not only does it get laughs in the film, it’s been the subject of many an online meme ever since.
The appropriately fourth cameo on this list hews closest to its comicbook origins, perhaps even closer than the movie that included it does. In Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Reed Richards and Susan Storm get married, and a certain tuxedoed gentleman gets turned away at the gate. This is, of course, Stan Lee, and this scene is directly inspired by 1965’s Fantastic Four Annual #3, in which Sue Storm and Reed Richards get married and both Stan and co-creator Jack Kirby are turned away at the gate by none other than Nick Fury and some of his Howling Commandoes!
Finally, my personal favorite might be from SONY’s Spider-Man 3. Stan appears at Peter Parker’s side (as played by Tobey Maguire), as Peter sees a news-ticker headline announcing that Spider-Man is to be awarded a key to the city. Stan turns to Peter and says, “You know, I guess one person can make a difference. Nuff’ Said.” It’s one of Stan’s more dramatic bits and fits the overall theme of the film very well. And in the end, it’s a great summation of Stan’s countless contributions to this world of Marvel comicbooks, films, popular culture, and its growing fan base. In Stan Lee’s case, one man did indeed make a difference.