Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has released a touching tribute to Stan Lee. Feige remembers the last time that he met with the comic book legend, which was two weeks before he passed away. They got together to discuss the future, and Lee looked back to the past while joking with Feige in his trademark humor. There has been an intense amount of tributes to Lee going around social media, but Feige's adds an extra punch of what it was like to collaborate with Stan the Man.
Kevin Feige started his tribute by taking it back to the beginning for Stan Lee. By now it's common knowledge that Lee wasn't happy with what he was originally doing at Marvel Comics, and that his late wife played a major role in getting the ball running for what would become some of the biggest and most beloved superheroes in history. Lee's collaborations with Jack Kirby and others are now the stuff of legend. Feige explains.
"You've heard the legend, which I think is true, that when Stan Lee was a young writer at Marvel Comics he was tired of doing the same old thing, and his wife, Joan, encouraged him to write the kind of stories he wanted to read. That's what led to the Fantastic Four. Then Hulk, and Spider-Man. Then Iron Man, and the X-Men, and everything else. He realized in the midst of his amazing 1960s run what he was creating, that people were responding to his characters the same way he responded to ancient myths that he read as a kid, and he went, Wait a minute. Lemme turn one of those characters into a hero. And we got Thor, we got Odin, we got Loki, we got Hela."
As Kevin Feige's Stan Lee tribute continues, the Marvel Studios boss praises Lee for taking risks. Once Lee started to write about what he wanted to read about, he started creating worlds that never existed before, and he started to find his footing. For Lee, it wasn't all about the hero and the abilities, it was about something deeper. Feige had this to say.
"Stan was a charismatic, well-spoken cheerleader for his characters and for the medium of comics in general. Also, he was a very progressive storyteller. He took risks, and he wrote what he believed. You see the quote going around from one of his old Stan's Soapbox columns about how a story without a message is like a man without a soul. Wow, is that true, and wow, that is apparent in all the stories he told."
When talking about Stan Lee taking chances, Kevin Feige starts talking about Black Panther. Feige is still blown away by what Ryan Coogler was able to pull off with the movie, but it would have never happened had Lee and Jack Kirby not taken the risks that they did. Black Panther was created during the civil rights movement, and he wasn't just another superhero. T'Challa was the smarter, wealthier hero, with better technology than anybody.
When talking about his last encounter with Stan Lee, Kevin Feige notes that he left him with a joke. The two were discussing the future and possibly even more cameos, which prompted Lee to admit something to Feige. Lee explains.
"I know you want me to star in the next movie, but I have to just stick to the cameos. You'll have to leave the starring roles to the other actors. I'm sorry."
To Feige, that's exactly who Stan Lee was. He was always into filming his cameos and was interested in adding more lines and ad-libbing, but in the end, he knew that it wasn't all about him. You can read the rest of Kevin Feige's lengthy and touching tribute to Stan Lee at Entertainment Weekly.