Up until Avengers: Endgame, there is rarely a major Marvel project that doesn't feature a cameo from Stan Lee. In Ant Man he was a bartender, a FedX postman in Captain America: Civil War, the driver of Peter Parker's bus in Avengers: Infinity War, and so on. His random cameos took on a deeper meaning with his special appearance in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 which connected his different on-screen roles in every MCU project. But James Gunn recently confessed that this brilliant idea was not originally his creation.
For those who don't remember, Stan Lee appeared twice in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He first appeared soon after Rocket, Groot, Yondu and Kraglin erratically jump through space to reach Ego's planet and save Quill. After the group once again disappears out of sight, we see a disgruntled Stan Lee in a spacesuit talking to a group of Watchers on a faraway planetoid and sharing how there was "that time" when he was a Federal Express man. He is talking about his cameo in Civil War towards the end where he was seen delivering a package from Steve Rogers to "Tony Stanks."
He appeared for the second time in the last Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post-credits scene and was seen calling out to the Watchers as they start leaving, annoyed with the ongoing string of stories about his multiple appearances. The Watchers, who debuted in Fantastic Four #13 back in 1963, are a race of ancient beings who watch over the multiple universes while observing a strict no-interference policy.
During the press conference for the film in 2017, Kevin Feige had shared how the scene serves to prove that "Stan Lee clearly exists above and apart from the reality of all the films."
"James (Gunn) 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," he had further added. "We thought it would be fun to put that and keep that in there because that really says, 'So wait a minute, he's this same character who's popped up in all these films, the same person.'"
But long before Guardian of the Galaxy 2 was even conceptualized, Marvel fans had been trying to put a logical reason behind Lee's recurring presence in each film. They had already deduced that while he appears as different characters in the films, it is the same person as he is a Watcher who is knowingly appearing during crucial events to monitor how things turn out.
As is the case with MCU, fan theories and wild speculations never get old, no matter how many years have passed since a particular film's release. Recently, a Twitter user once again called out the epic meaning behind the brief scene in the second Guardians film.
"Daily reminder that Stan Lee was canonically a Watcher informant, and was playing the same character in every MCU movie, keeping an eye on the heroes and their adventures. Thank you @JamesGunn!
But the best part was James Gunn instantly retweeting the post and confessing how he came up with the scene in the first place.
"I stole the idea from fan theories on Twitter, which I thought were hilarious."
This is not the first time that Gunn has admitted how he came up with the cool logic behind Lee's multiple appearances across the MCU as during a Facebook Live session in 2017, he had spoken at length about the cameo.
"I actually read the Marvel fan sites and the Marvel message boards... One thing I found very funny and interesting is the fact that people thought Stan Lee is a Watcher... and that all of these cameos that he's doing are part of him being a Watcher. So I thought that was one of the greatest things the fans came up with. So Stan Lee as a guy who is either a Watcher or probably a guy who is working for the Watchers was something that I thought was fun for the MCU."
So, in case you were one of those zealous Marvel fans who also pitched the theory of Lee being a Watcher or their informant in the MCU, you can give yourself a well-earned pat on the back- for all you know, it was your speculation that became Gunn's ingenious inspiration! In case you missed Lee's cameo in all the space jumping chaos and Ego's evil plans, then check Guardian of the Galaxy 2 on the official Disney+ app.