For as long as there have been Marvel-based superhero movies there have been Stan Lee cameos, with the creative mind behind many of the comic-book company’s biggest properties given an honorary appearance in pretty much every film starring his characters to date (and even a few that he didn’t have much to do with, like Deadpool).
Of course, the whole thing’s just a bit of fun, and Lee’s cameos aren’t really supposed to fit in with the wider Marvel storyline – but this hasn’t stopped fans from trying to find a way to explain his appearances in-universe, with some positing that the only way Lee’s character could appear in so many different times, places and careers is if he was actually a member of comic-book race The Watchers (a group of omniscient aliens who observe major events in the galaxy, but are forbidden to interfere).
Stan Lee’s cameos
Over the years the idea has been debated, cast aside, brought back again and even debunked by Lee himself – but now there’s been a surprising twist in the tale, with the whole idea at least PARTIALLY confirmed by latest Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and its director James Gunn.
Let us explain – and bear in mind that from this point on, there are some minor non-plot spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. You have been warned.
At one point during the new movie, a speedy space journey flashes past a tableau of Lee (in a spacesuit) and a group of Watchers, with the comic-book supremo regaling them with descriptions of his various cameos. The scene continues at the end of the film after the credits, with the Watchers growing bored of Lee’s stories and leaving him alone.
And now, director James Gunn has confirmed to RadioTimes.com that the whole scene was a specific nod to the Stan Lee Watcher fan theory, with the director amused enough by the idea to make it canonical (along with the fact that all of Lee’s characters have been the same person).
“I mean, you know there’s a lot of cool stuff that the fans come up with,” Gunn told us. “A lot of stuff I don’t agree with, you know people have ideas about what they think should happen in the MCU.
“But I find the idea that Stan Lee is a Watcher, or that he works for the Watchers, is just a fun little nod to the fans.”
Accordingly, Lee is listed in the film’s credits as “The Watcher’s Informant,” so now whenever you see him crop up in superhero films going forward you can be sure he’s collecting intelligence for his shadowy masters. You’ve got to love the internet sometimes.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is released in UK cinemas now