How will Stan Lee make a comeback? New deals between Marvel, Genius Brands, and POW! Entertainment could bring back Stan Lee’s cameos in the MCU using CGI and previously unseen footage. Long-running comic book franchise is built on characters created by Lee and artist Jack Kirby like Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, among others Lee and Steve Ditko’s Doctor Strange has been played by Benedict Cumberbatch, while Spider-Man has been played by Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland in the MCU thanks to Spider-Man: No Way Home.
It wasn’t just Lee’s characters that the Marvel Comics creator had a hand in; he also had cameos in every MCU film, as well as other Marvel adaptations, such as Sony’s Spider-Man films, and Fox’s X-Men films, and Disney’s Big Hero 6. After the 95-year-old Lee’s death in 2018, there were several cameos in Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Captain Marvel, and Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. Later MCU films and shows have used posters and magazines to include Lee, but now it looks like the future has a different plan.
Stan Lee Universe, a joint venture between Genius Brands International and POW! Entertainment has signed a 20-year licensing agreement with Marvel for the use of Lee’s likeness in future films, television shows, Disney theme parks, merchandise and more. In the future, Stan Lee’s MCU cameos could be brought back with the help of CGI and archival footage thanks to this new deal, but studio insiders say that decision has not yet been made. Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, issued the following statement regarding the transaction:
“It really ensures that Stan, through digital technology and archival footage and other forms, will live in the most important venue, the Marvel movies, and Disney theme parks. It’s a broad deal.”
CGI and old footage of the late comic book creator’s MCU cameos are certain to divide fans, even though Lee’s MCU cameos were a favourite part of the long-running franchise. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Disney used the same strategy to include Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing’s Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin in their stories. A mixed-to-negative reception from critics and fans alike, with critics and fans alike calling into question the ethics of reviving late actors for films.
A Vietnam War film starring James Dean as a CGI-animated James Dean is currently in development, despite the controversy. But even though the new agreement between Marvel and Stan Lee’s Universe opens the possibility of a comeback for Stan Lee’s MCU guest appearances, it is important to remember that no plans for these cameos have been made by Marvel or Disney as of yet, so the studios could just as easily take fan requests into consideration. Fans can at least look forward to Lee’s iconic face making its way to Disney’s theme parks in the future until the final decision is made