If you haven't raced to the local theater for a screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 yet, you might want to save this story for later. As it contains SPOILERS! Those who have seen the movie, and stayed all the way to the very last of five post-credit scenes, know that Stan Lee's Marvel character has finally been revealed. Yes, his cameos mean something, they're all connected, and he's played the same character in every movie, presumably even those outside of Marvel Studio's cinematic universe including X-Men and Deadpool.
As it stands, Stan Lee has appeared in more Marvel movies than anyone else, including Robert Downey Jr., who reprises Tony Stark for an 8th time in this summer's Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Samuel L. Jackson, who has turned in 7 appearances out of the 9 in his contract. Known for creating some of the greatest superheroes in history and forever the face of Marvel comics, Stan Lee is once again back for a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 this weekend. He has appeared in all 15 of Marvel Studios MCU movies and even the TV shows, along with numerous other cameos in those Marvel movies not released by Disney.
Now, it has been confirmed that Stan Lee's character has a stated purpose. He appears twice in the Guardians sequel, once in a Tex Avery-style sequence that finds Rocket, Groot and Yondu zipping through the doors of space and time. The second is the fifth of five post-credit sequences. Stan Lee is seen talking with the all-seeing aliens known as the Watchers. And he's credited as The Watchers Informant. Basically, he's been going around the MCU in various disguises reporting on what the Avengers, X-Men and other superheroes are up to on earth.
Stan Lee himself is reportedly overjoyed with his big character reveal, which has been many years in the making. And now, The Watchers are finally, officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Director James Gunn had this to say about finally giving Stan Lee a single character that makes sense for so many movies.
"When he first brought up the Watchers in the '60s, the other writers were making fun of him and thought they were a stupid idea. He was like, 'I like them,' and he put them in. So Stan feels particularly redeemed."
The post-credit scene confirms that Stan Lee has actually been a "Watcher" throughout his entire slate of MCU cameos. Even before Guardians of the Galaxy, some speculated that Stan Lee is actually playing Uatu, a member of the Watchers who was assigned to look after Earth. Kevin Feige also recently confirmed that Stan Lee is a Watcher, but did not actually name him as Uatu in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
So far in the MCU, Stan Lee has appeared in Iron Man as a Hugh Hefner Lookalike, The Incredible Hulk as an Old Man Poisoned by Hulk-blood-contaminated soda, Iron Man 2 as a Larry King Lookalike, Thor as a Truck Driver Trying to move Mjolnir, Captain America: The First Avenger as a1940s General, The Avengers as a Skeptic in New York, Iron Man 3 as a Beauty Pageant Judge, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a Train Passenger, Thor: The Dark World as a Mental Hospital Patient, Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a Smithsonian Exhibit Security Guard, Guardians of the Galaxy as a Xandarian Pervert, Agent Carter as a Shoeshine Customer, Netflix's The Defenders as a New York Police Officer (seen in photos), Avengers: Age of Ultron as a Lightweight Veteran, Ant-Man as a Bartender in Luis' Story, Captain America: Civil War as a Fex Ex Delivery Agent, and Doctor Strange as a New York Cab Rider. He will next show up in Spider-Man: Homecoming this summer, and has a role in Thor: Ragnarok. It's possible that after speaking with The Watchers in Guardians of the Galaxy, he stops by the planet of Sakaar to watch Hulk and the God of Thunder battle it out, before returning to earth. With the Guardians 2 timeline set in 2014, this does all make sense.
Interestingly enough, his cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 also confirmed that Kevin Smith's Mallrats is part of the Marvel Universe, as Lee is essentially playing the same character here. He's also appeared in non-Marvel studio movies X-Men, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, Daredevil, the original Fantastic Four movie, X-Men: The Last Stand, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Big Hero 6, Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse. His appearances on The Big Bang Theory, Entourage and Chuck don't count, as he was playing himself.
Along with his upcoming appearances in Thor 3 and the new Spider-Man movie, Stan Lee has also shot his cameo for Black Panther, which hits theaters in 2018. It's also expected that he will return in Infinity War, which is shooting now. It's in this movie that we may see The Watchers again, with Stan Lee getting to play an even bigger role in the scheme of things this time out. But that's just pure speculation. At least we know who Stan Lee is playing now, and he's got a pretty cool role in the MCU.