If there’s one thing Marvel fans always expect, no matter what the movie, it’s that Stan Lee will pop up in there somewhere.
The beloved grandfather of the comic book scene has long been a popular figure among fans. He’s a confirmed legend having created or co-created many of Marvel’s best-loved characters – Spider-Man, The Hulk, Thor, Doctor Strange, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and many more – and once Marvel took off in the movies, it became a tradition for Lee to make a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in (almost) every one.
This led to a fan theory that there could be a link between Lee’s cameos; and that, rather than just being an innocuous old geezer, he was in fact The Watcher, an omnipotent other-worldly being that overlooks the entire Marvel universe in the comics, popping up here and there as he pleases.
Though Lee himself dismissed this in the past, it seems that Marvel Studios have embraced the theory – and, in the newly released ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ it is shown to be correct.
Marvel president Kevin Feige told a press junket (quotes via Screen Rant), “Yes, we always thought it would be fun. Stan Lee clearly exists, you know, above and apart from the reality of all the films. So the notion that he could be [DETAILS OMITTED TO AVOID POSSIBLE SPOILER] in ‘Guardians’ was something very fun.”
Lee in fact appears more than once in ‘Guardians 2,’ and makes a direct reference to an earlier MCU cameo (again, we won’t say which to avoid spoiling anything):
“James had that idea and we shot that cameo and loved it so much, you know, you see it a couple of times in the movie… we thought it would be fun to put that in there because that really says, so wait a minute, he’s this same character who’s popped up in all these films.”
Happily, this also provides a link of sorts between every single Marvel movie in which Lee has appeared, including 20th Century Fox’s ‘X-Men’ and ‘Fantastic Four’ movies, Sony’s ‘Spider-Man’ series, and Universal’s pre-MCU ‘Hulk.’ He even makes a post-credits appearance in Disney animated movie ‘Big Hero 6,’ adapted from a Marvel comic.
When the Watcher theory first started doing the rounds way back in 2014, Lee remarked, “No, I’m afraid I don’t have any super power and I’m not extraterrestrial. Though, I’ll admit I’m a wonderful human being, but I’m really just a little more wonderful than most.”
Nor is the 94-year old by any means done, as he’s already confirmed to have shot cameos for the upcoming ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ and it’s expected he’ll also appear in ‘Deadpool 2.’
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ is in cinemas everywhere now.