As many Marvel fans will agree, there has been one thing noticeably missing from the recent offerings of Black Widow and the three live action Disney+ series'; the Stan Lee cameos that came to be as much of a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as any of the characters he was responsible for creating. Following the death of Lee in 2018 at the age of 95, he had already recorded some future cameos, the last of which saw a de-aged Lee driving along a highway in Endgame. While there is no doubt that Marvel's movies will continue to bring in big name cameos, such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Black Widow, it seems that the recent The Simpsons short based on Marvel's greatest heroes has shown that the company has a very strict rule when it comes to Stan Lee ever making another appearance on screen.
While WandaVision managed to slip in a tribute to the late comic book legend, but including his birthday in the show, The Simpsons producer Al Jean has revealed that Marvel would not allow them to use Lee's likeness in their recent short, The Good, The Bart and The Loki, despite them already having had Stan Lee as guest on the show three times previously. Although the Simpsons archive includes some unused audio from when Lee appeared on the series in the past, Marvel made it clear that no one will be using his image for cameos "now that he has passed away."
Jean said, "We just thought, 'Oh, we have Stan Lee audio from when he was on our show, could we cameo him in?' And they said that their policy is he doesn't cameo now that he's passed away, which is a completely understandable policy. That was their only note and that was, of course, easily done. And the Grogu note [for the Star Wars-themed short] made total sense, too. It was like, if you let everybody use Grogu in their stuff that wanted to, it would be all over. Believe me, I respect that these franchises have a great power beyond ours. I respect it."
While a Simpsons short based on the Marvel Cinematic Univeres would have been the perfect place for Lee to have made one more unexpected appearance, Jean and his team would have no option but to respect the wishes of the company who partly only exist because of Lee. With this statement, it looks like those still hoping for just one more sight of Lee's grin on screens will have to accept that those days have gone, and Marvel is now wanting to let him rest in peace.
Although this may definitely put rumors of any future on screen appearances to bed, WandaVision's less obvious tribute doesn't mean that we have seen the last reference to him in Marvel's future projects. In the real world, last month saw the unveiling of Stan Lee Way at University Avenue in The Bronx, New York, which is co-named with part of the street where Lee grew up. It seems that whether any further name checks or references appear or not in the MCU's upcoming movies and series', Stan Lee is not about to be forgotten by anyone anytime soon.
The Simpsons short, The Good, The Bart and the Loki, is available on Disney+ now, along with all of the MCU's offerings so far. This news comes to us from The Direct.