Stan Lee (Mr. Cameo himself) is one of, if not the, most well known names in comics. He is responsible for so many of our favorite heroes and stories, and has spent a lot of time on the screen in their movies. But superhero films are not the only genre he’s appeared in. I’ve gathered ten of his greatest cameos across film and television.
10. Captain America: Civil War
There’s something about Stan’s seemingly innocent presence on camera that lends itself to hilarity whenever he has something to say. This appearance is no exception. While I often critique breaking up serious moments with humor, a major flaw of many Marvel movies, this moment fits in well with Tony trying to lift War Machine’s spirits. Stan, the mail man’s prescription is apparently out of date, but James rightfully respects his elders and allows the misspeak to go unnoticed, at Tony’s expense. This seems fair, given that the only people who would side with Iron Man in this movie are commies.
9. Big Hero 6
Revealed appropriately in a post-credit scene, Stan voices the father of Fred, one of the allies of the main hero, Hiro. Seen earlier in a portrait, Fred accidentally comes across a secret basement, while lamenting never being able to share his accomplishments with his father. As he searches the secret lair, his father reveals himself, much to Fred’s shock, before declaring that he knows everything. Fred embraces his father, who tells Fred that they have “a lot to talk about.” During interviews for this movie, Stan revealed that Walt Disney was a hero of his growing up, and that he was so excited to be a part of an actual Disney movie (as opposed to a Marvel movie owned by Disney).
8. Fantastic 4: Silver Surfer
This cameo is humorous but forgettable, in a forgettable, but not very humorous sequel. Stan’s cameo in this scene is relevant because of the call back to the comic scene this wedding is showing us. In The Fantastic Four: Issue #3, both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are attempting to enter the wedding of Reed and Sue Richards. Shockingly, the men responsible for the bride and groom’s very existence are rudely denied entry. The final panel shows the writer duo walking into the night as they break the fourth wall, venting their frustration.
7. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Following the death of the home universe’s Spider Man, Miles Morales mourns along with the rest of New York City. Picking up a costume from a shop owned by Stan himself, they both talk about how they will miss Spiderman, with Stan revealing that he and Spiderman were friends. Miles asks if he can bring the costume back if it doesn’t fit, to which Stan replies “It always fits…eventually.” Honestly, this started out much higher on my list, due to the sentimentality and seriousness of the moment, but I had to lower it due to the “No returns or refunds” sign next to Stan, ruining a serious moment with an unnecessary joke. Editor’s Note: I strongly disagree with the joke undercutting the cameo, as it felt entirely in style for Stan Lee.
6. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Thor’s liquor may have been aged for a millennium in barrels built from the wreckage of Brunhilde’s fleet, but Omaha Beach is not impressed. Stan’s ability to survive this drink will play a role later in this list, but for now let’s enjoy Stan slurring, “Excelsior” and giving every surviving member of “The Greatest Generation” one more reason to feel proud.
5. X Men: Apocalypse
This is one of the most forgettable cameos on Stan’s resume, let alone on this list. There’s really only one factor that makes it stand out, and it’s one you have to wait until the credits to understand. Stan is seen amongst a cookie cutter neighborhood, holding his wife close to him as numerous nukes are seen up above. But it just so happens to be his actual wife. As a benefactor of nepotism myself, this is an ‘Andrew approved’ cameo.
4. Teen Titans Go To the Movies
There is no cameo Stan Lee won’t take on, even if it involves enemy territory! His ability to poke fun at himself is on full display, as is his very apparent love for all things comics. While Teen Titans Go only serves to make me miss the previous Teen Titans series, Stan still makes it humorous in a way that only he can.
3. The Simpsons
In addition to being in a title tag, Stan voiced himself in an episode of The Simpsons thirteenth season titled: ‘I Am Furious (Yellow)’ From making Comic-Book Guy lose all respect for him, to attempting to transform into the Hulk after seeing a raging Homer (covered in green paint) get a healthy dose of police brutality, this is an episode Marvel fans will love.
Stan’s cameo days started long before the MCU. In this Kevin Smith film about a couple of college slackers trying to get their lives together, Stan Lee makes his own appearance while the main character is staring at lingerie (and apparently not being dragged away by security). Despite Brodie’s peculiar focus on superhero reproductive organs, Stan Lee is able to pass along some wisdom by referencing his own “one that got away” Unlike the comical “throw away” lines from many of his MCU cameos, this cameo carries actual weight for Brodie in his struggle with his own romantic interest. The humor is still there, as we see shortly thereafter, that it was made up at the request of Brodie’s best friend. Fun Fact: Kevin Smith revealed in an interview that it was Stan’s idea to reveal that it was a made up story, as he didn’t want his wife to believe she was not the love of his life. You’re a good man, Stan.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Why is Stan’s Guardians 2 ranked number one? To put it simply, this scene makes it clear that Stan Lee is the One Above. Stan telling stories referencing various cameos makes this quite clear. The title of being the most powerful being in Marvel (and several other non-Marvel universes, as far as this list is concerned) honestly couldn’t be given to a more deserving figure. This also explains how he was able to survive Thor’s drink. Is his status official as far as Marvel is concerned? Probably not. However, they gave us screaming goats, therefore they have lost their right to have the final say.