Avengers: Endgame is finally here and it brings with it Stan Lee's last ever cameo put to film. The Marvel Comics icon passed away last year. Along with equally legendary figures such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Lee helped make the Marvel brand what it is today by co-creating many of the characters that have gone on to define the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As such, it's particularly sad for fans to know that this movie will contain the last of his signature cameos.
Warning: major SPOILERS ahead for Avengers: Endgame. Seriously, those who haven't seen the movie yet will likely want to turn back now. Alright, let's dig in. During what Ant-Man delightfully called a "time heist," Tony and Steve have to travel back to the 1970s in order to try and snag the Tesseract, aka the Space Stone, since they botched the first attempt in New York, with Loki stealing it to make his escape. Just as this little bit of the adventure kicks off, we see Stan Lee's final moments on screen in the MCU.
We see a white muscle car speeding down the road, Steppenwolf's Hey Lawdy Mama blasting from the speakers and a bumper sticker on the back featuring one of Stan Lee's catchphrases, "'Nuff Said." We then see Stan Lee in the driver's seat of the car, de-aged to his 70s glory, with a beautiful woman by his side in the passenger seat. He's decked out in hippie attire and it's a fun moment, not bathed in dramatic tension. In many ways, the perfect send-off for him. Co-director Joe Russo had this to say about it.
"It's sort of the hippie era, and Stan's cameoing as a hippie and it's the free-love era. He's saying, 'Make love, not war!'"
While this moment carries a certain emotional weight for fans, it's also rather impressive, given that Stan Lee has been de-aged for this particular cameo. The same technology that was used several times in this movie in order to make actors like Michael Douglas and John Slattery look like younger versions of themselves was also used on Lee. This same de-aging effect was seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to make Kurt Russell look like his younger self and in Captain America: Civil War to make Robert Downey Jr. look particularly young. Joe Russo also talked about the idea itself, which came up before Lee passed away.
"It seemed like fun when we originally had the idea, before Stan passed. Oh, what did Stan look like in the '70s?"
The Russo Bros. also reiterated that this was indeed Stan Lee's final cameo put to screen, so we won't be seeing him pop up, at least not in the flesh, in Spider-Man: Far From Home this summer. He's a man that will always be missed but at least we've got this last, joyful cameo to help honor his memory. This news was previously reported by Entertainment Weekly.