Excelsior! The Best Stan Lee Cameos
Stan Lee was a giant. There’s no other way to put it.
His work with Marvel Comics led to the creation of some of the most memorable characters in the history of entertainment, period. Spider-Man, the Avengers, X-Men, the Fantastic Four — most writers would give their right hand to have been involved in the creation of even one of these ultra-successful franchises, let alone all of them.
Why was Stan Lee so successful? If you ask me, Stan Lee’s characters resonate with mass audiences because, simply put, the man understood what it felt like to be an outcast. To not fit in. Couple that with a once-in-a-generation imagination and you get Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Iron Man.
But comic book characters aren’t the only thing the late, great Lee was known for. The man also had a penchant for cameos.
Today, we take some time to spotlight some of Stan Lee’s most memorable cameos. Excelsior!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Many believe that Stan Lee’s cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 proves a long-standing fan theory linking all of Lee’s cameos together. I don’t know about all that. But what it does prove, is that Stan Lee’s cameos are out of this world.
In this one, Lee (dressed as an astronaut) regales three celestial beings known as Watchers with stories detailing a previous cameo. It’s very meta, very short, and very, very Stan Lee.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Spider-Man has been quite the cash cow for Stan Lee over the years. After all, the friendly neighborhood web-slinger boasts a filmography that rivals even that of Stan Lee!
In this memorable cameo, Stan Lee peacefully enjoys the soothing sounds of classical music while Spider-Man and the Lizard duke it out right behind him. I mean, they do say that classical music is supposed to improve your focus.
I can’t exactly share Stan Lee’s Deadpool cameo in this article, which is part of what makes it so great.
Stan Lee appears in the Ryan Reynolds R-rated blockbuster in the strip-club scene. In this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance, Stan Lee plays the part of a strip club DJ urging the surrounding patrons to “Give it up for Chastity!”
Stan Lee cameos don’t discriminate. Comics? Movies? TV Shows? Even video games.
Marvel’s Spider-Man, the PlayStation 4’s exclusive open-world Spidey simulator, featured another brilliant, digitally crafted cameo for Stan Lee fans around the world.
The scene begins with a brief conversation between Peter Parker and love interest Mary Jane. The conversation is cut short, but not before a digitized Stan Lee wistfully proclaims, “Love seeing you two together again.”
You see, MJ and Peter Parker haven’t been a couple in the comic books in ages.
Sometimes he’s a cook, sometimes he’s an astronaut, but we’ll never forget the one time that Stan Lee popped up as an intergalactic barber.
2017’s Thor: Ragnarok featured a hilarious interaction between Thor and a robot-armed Stan Lee determined to cut the superhero’s luscious locks. Spoiler alert, the barber won, and Thor would learn to embrace his new, much shorter, haircut.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Sometimes Stan Lee cameos as himself, while others he’s an altogether different person. Such is the case in Age of Ultron.
The 2015 box-office behemoth features a victory party at Avengers Tower. At the tail end of this clip, Thor starts dishing out shots of Asgardian liquor. One of the “shooters” is a war veteran that looks remarkably like Stan Lee. Stan Lee drinks his fill of the fictional liquor and has to be escorted out from the party.
Spider-Man 3 was a dumpster fire of a superhero movie. That is if you like crying, dancing, and Topher Grace as Venom. Heck, even director Sam Raimi admitted as much.
Despite everything that went wrong, there was one great part and it came in the way of another legendary Stan Lee cameo. In this straight-from-the-heart scene, Stan Lee comforts Peter Parker with a few perfectly placed words of wisdom.
Yes, one person can sure make a difference Stan. You’re proof of that.
Big Hero 6
Big Hero 6 surprised a lot of people. The animated film entertained millions of people with a heartwarming tale of friendship, heroism, and robots. Just as surprising was the film’s post-credits scene.
For this memorable cameo, Stan Lee sat in a vocal booth and laid down some audio for his very first CG animated cameo in 2014. It was a dream come true for Lee, who credits Walt Disney for inspiring his highly successful career path.
In 2008’s Iron Man, Stan Lee channels his inner Playboy, donning a housecoat, tobacco pipe, and two gorgeous women by his side.
The scene follows Tony Stark in all his glory, as he enters a star-studded, paparazzi loaded party. As he walks towards the entrance of the party, Stark taps an older gentleman on the back and says, “Looking good Heff.”
Of course, Tony is referring to Hugh Hefner. But it wasn’t Heff at all. It was the late great Stan Lee.
Filmmaker Kevin Smith’s obsession with geek culture is well documented. As is his love for the prolific comic book genius Stan Lee. So, it isn’t exactly surprising to see Stan Lee pop up in Kevin Smith’s 1995 cult classic Mallrats.
In the scene, a much younger looking Stan Lee offers a few words of wisdom to one of the film’s main characters, Brodie Bruce. This is followed by a charming scene where Brodie rattles off a series of comic book questions that have clearly been bugging him for a long while.
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
We’ve already established that Stan Lee doesn’t discriminate. Live action, animated, Marvel, DC … Stan Lee did it all. Oh, you need proof. How about Lee’s animated appearance in the DC property Teen Titans Go!
Not that you need the reminder, but DC and Marvel are sworn enemies. And yet, DC featured the godfather of Marvel in one of their own movies. It’s one of the things that I respect most about comic book culture. The greats always recognize the greats.
Captain America: Civil War
The head honchos behind Captain America: Civil War almost tricked us. I mean, it took until the very last scene of the movie before Stan The Man showed up. But it was worth the wait.
In the final scene of the film, Stan Lee pops up, dressed as a delivery driver, and drops off a package meant for “Tony Stank”. It’s a hilarious, purposeful mispronunciation of one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Stan Lee certainly outdid himself with his cameo in the original Deadpool. But his contribution to the success of Deadpool 2 was double the fun.
Stan Lee played a part in a promotional teaser for the movie ahead of its release. His cameo in the actual film was limited to a hard-to-spot mural of his likeness. Many were disappointed that Lee wasn’t physically in the movie, but I forgive him. After all, you could make the case that Deadpool wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Lee’s characters.
X-Men: Apocalypse was an admittedly forgettable movie. It’s not that it was awful, it just failed to live up to the hype of this newly constructed X-Men universe. What did live up to the hype was Stan Lee’s pop-in.
It was short but all too sweet. Especially considering that the woman he’s sharing the scene with is his actual wife!
Black Panther was a revelation. The film told the empowering tale of the fictional country of Wakanda’s struggle for independence in the face of external pressures and a whole bunch of in-fighting. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to watch it ASAP.
Not only does Black Panther provide us with plenty of real-life themes to discuss, but it also provides us with one of the most self-aware Stan Lee cameos ever.
Stan Lee pops into the South Korea scene and takes what isn’t his — a pile of chips at the casino. It’s subtle, but many on the Internet believe that this cameo is a statement against North America’s troubling colonial past.