While Robert Downey Jr. might be considered “The Godfather” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the constant staple in every movie has always been Stan Lee. The man who, along with Jack Kirby, created almost every character in the MCU, always had a cameo in some form. Some were funnier than others. Some movies, like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, even tried to connect all of the cameos together. But late last year we lost the pop culture titan. Fans instantly started wondering how many more movies we would see Lee appear in. The answer seems to be one more, as his last filmed appearance was for Avengers: Endgame.
“This was his final cameo that was committed to film,” Joe Russo said to ComicBook.com. “It was always… Again, I grew up as a Marvel fanatic, and watching Spider-Man cartoon show as a kid with his voice in it. I think anything that affects you as a child really affects you as an adult, sticks with you. So when he would come on set, and we’d hear his voice, it’s sort of Pavlovian in a way, where you just become a child again. The whole crew would be like that. People were always… All these movie stars on set every day, and then Stan would show up, and it was just like people were kids all over again.”
Russo’s word choice actually makes me excited. While Endgame has the last newly recorded footage of Lee for a cameo, it sounds like they will continue. There are plenty of ways for that to happen – they can use alternate takes from past cameos. Many times, the filmmakers have Lee say 7 or 8 one liners, and they choose the one that works best. Lee can appear via TV footage. Meaning if Aunt May has her TV on in the background of her apartment, we can see Lee on that, with Marvel using some of the countless hours of footage that he has been on TV.
They could also do what they did in the Netflix shows. Lee’s “cameo” was merely a picture of him on the walls at the police station. Whatever they decided to do, I would be very surprised if this is the last time we ever see Stan the Man in a Marvel movie. But it is fitting that Avengers: Endgame – which will mark the end of the current MCU as we know it – is Stan’s last specifically filmed cameo. It has a nice symmetry to it.