The charismatic face and co-founder of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee was never apologetic for celebrating fandom (and being a shameless self-promoter), which are a couple of the biggest reasons why we’ll miss him.
Despite the mysterious circumstances surrounding his final few months, let us remember the times he put a smile on most of our faces adorning the universe he helped create.
Lee’s face became synonymous with the acceptance of comics in pop culture. Along with appearing in various animated and live action Marvel films and TV shows, he even made a few appearances in rival DC projects.
We’re going to focus on the major live action films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony’s Spider-Man Universe and X-Men Cinematic Universe and on on the animated works he appeared in like Big Hero 6.
The Unremarkable Cameos
Lee as a hotdog vendor watching Senator Robert Kelly emerge from the beach.
Lee saves a little girl from falling debris during a fight between Spider-Man and Green Goblin.
A young Matt Murdock uses his cane to block Stan Lee from crossing a dangerous street.
As security guards, Lee walks alongside Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk in the TV series with Bill Bixby playing David “Bruce” Banner.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Lee saves another during Spider-Man’s fight against Doc Ock.
Photograph of Lee is on a board of missing people.
Fantastic Four (2005)
Lee plays mail carrier Willie Lumpkin, who greets the Fantastic Four as they enter the Baxter Building.
X-Men: The Last Stand(2006)
Lee holds his water hose as a young Jean Grey telekinetically lifts everything around her in her neighborhood.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Lee attends Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy’s graduation and “recognizes” Peter.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Rocket spots Lee talking to a younger woman with his googles remarking about his time in Xandar.
Lee views the rising nuclear weapons launched by Apocalypse with his wife, Joan.
Deadpool 2 (2018)
Lee appears as graffiti art as Domino flies through the city in the ill-fated X-Force drop.
Black Panther (2018)
Lee takes T’Challa’s won, but unclaimed chips at a casino.
More Memorable Cameos
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Lee attempts to go to Reed and Sue’s wedding, but rejected by security for not being on the guest list.
Iron Man (2008)
Tony Stark mistakes Lee for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Lee ingests a soft drink mixed with Bruce Banner’s blood, which leads to Banner’s location.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Tony Stark mistakes Lee for Larry King.
Lee attempts to pull Mjolnir with his flatbed truck, which ends badly…for the truck.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Lee plays a general, who mistakes another man for Captain America/Steve Rogers saying, “I thought he’d be taller.”
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Lee plays a beauty pageant judge who gives one of the contestants a 10.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Selvig uses a shoe talk about “The Convergence” in his delusions to which Lee asks if he can have his show back.
Luis is telling a story to Scott Lang (current Ant-Man), which Lee plays the bartender in the sequence.
Doctor Strange (2016)
Lee plays a bus driver reading Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception laughing and oblivious to the battle between the main characters in the background.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
As “Gary,” Lee threatens Spider-Man thinking he might have hurt an innocent, “Don’t make me come down there, you punk!”
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Lee plays a servant to the Grandmaster on Sakaar, who cuts Thor’s hair asking him to be still since his “hands aren’t as good as they used to be.”
Lee talks to Brock about keeping his relationship with Anne Weying, while Venom salivates at Lee’s dog.
The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) TV Film
Lee plays one of the jurors during David Banner’s trial.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)
Lee appears as a train rider in the first season, who sympathizes with Jemma Simmons’ cover story as she talks to Phil Coulson.
Agent Carter (2015)
Lee appears in a season one episode where he asks Howard Stark if he can borrow the sports section of the newspaper he’s reading.
Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders
Lee plays Captain Irving Forbush, a New York police officer turned attorney. Much of his appearances were on billboards, but he did narrate a Defenders promo.
The Gifted (2017)
Lee makes an non-speaking cameo in the series.
The Runaways (2017)
Lee plays the limo driver of the group in a season one episode.
Cloak & Dagger (2018)
Lee appears in an Andy Warhol-inspired painting inspired by “The Shot Marilyns” in a season one episode
Top 10 Cameos
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Lee interacts with Peter Parker after seeing a news feed about Spider-Man saying, “You know, I guess one person can make a difference.”
Why it’s special: Most of Lee’s cameos add little to nothing to the story, but since many feel Spider-Man is his greatest creation, it spoke directly to the audience and the main character on so many levels reminding those why Spidey represents the heart and soul of Marvel.
The Avengers (2012)
A reporter interviews Lee about the Avengers saving Manhattan, which he scoffs, “Superheroes in New York? Give me a break!”
Why it’s special: A tongue-in-cheek moment played for laughs and plays off the Stan the Curmudgeon persona, which he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Lee plays a librarian oblivious to the fight between Spider-Man and the Lizard while listening to classical music on his headphones daftly and nonchalantly avoiding the flying debris.
Why it’s special: The cameo didn’t seem forced like most of his other appearances in the Spider-Man films. It’s a rare case when the CGI of a superhero film makes for a subtle, but comedic moment.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Lee plays a security at the Smithsonian. When he sees Captain America stole his own World War II uniform, he says, “Oh man, I am so fired!”
Why it’s special: This cameo alone was more enjoyable than Night at the Museum 3.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
A favorite of Lee’s, he plays a military veteran at the Avengers’ victory party. He claims he fought at Omaha Beach and that should prove he can take a shot of Asgardian liquor. As he’s carried away, he mutters his catchphrase, “Excelsior!”
Why it’s special: Another Stan the Curmudgeon favorite especially when he can act all surly in the process. Reliving past glory for comedic purposes never gets old, especially since Lee actually did serve in World War II.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Lee plays a FedEx driver delivering a package from Steve Rogers to “Tony Stank.”
Why it’s Special: Lee gets his revenge for all the other times Tony mistakes him for other people and provides a rare moment when Tony didn’t have a quick response.
Lee remarked it’s one of his favorite cameos as a MC at a strip club announcing, “Give it up for, Chastity!”
Why it’s special: What other universe would you see someone so “wholesome” take on a gratuitous cameo and not be crude about it?
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)
Lee plays an astronaut telling his story to the Watchers, specifically mentioning his role in Civil War. A number theorize this is the way the greater Marvel universe explains all his cameos in the projects as Uatu.
Why it’s special: For the first time, it offers an explanation to how Lee’s cameos all tie together within all Marvel media. This makes even a more surreal moment considering Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox the following year.
As Lee’s original cameo was cut from the theatrical release, he did appear in the short called No Good Deed featuring Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool that was shown prior to the film. Lee complemented Deadpool on his suit before he replies, “Zip it, Stan Lee!!” before arriving too late to save an innocent.
Why it is special: While it’s easy to have a throwaway cameo in such a serious movie like Logan, Reynolds took it upon himself in the only way he could since Wolverine and Deadpool would never likely cross paths again to “hijack” the film through the short. As if it wasn’t obscure enough, John Williams’ score from Richard Donner’s <em>Superman</em> is playing in the background, marks the first, not the last time Reynolds directly references DC in a Marvel film.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Lee plays a school bus driver taking Peter Parker’s class on a trip. When Parker notices the commotion of Ebony Maw’s ship, he suits up asking his friend, Ned for a distraction as he gets away. The irritated driver responds to the commotion, “What’s the matter with you kids? You never seen a spaceship before?”
Why it is special: In a fourth-wall break, it was a surreal moment of self-awareness and a great curmudgeon spot for Lee. The scene stands out to be a “been there, done that.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Lee is a bystander who sees his car shrink after Wasp shoots it to which he responds, “Well the ’60s were fun, but now I’m paying for it.”
Why it is special: It’s a self-deprecating moment of the ideas he came up with and another simple tongue-in-cheek explanation for his own inspiration, hallucinate drugs.
What is your favorite Stan Lee cameo? Let us know!