The cameo as it appears in Captain Marvel is particularly charming, taking place in an early scene featuring Carol (Larson) hunting for a shapeshifting Skrull on a train. In one seat, she spies a man peering hard at a script for a film called Mallrats, practising a line – “Trust me, True Believer!” – over and over again.
Gently taking the script, Carol pulls it aside to reveal the man is Lee. The pair smile sweetly at each other before Carol moves on.
What makes this cameo even more appropriate is that is depicts Lee practising for one of his very first movie cameos. Mallrats, released in 1995, features Lee heavily in the scene above, including that True Believer line.
While not quite as heart-stirring as Spider-Verse’s role for Lee, Captain Marvel’s inclusion of him is a wonderfully meta hat tip to his long legacy of movie cameos, with a real affection for the man himself.
But of course, this isn’t the only way the movie pays tribute to Lee. Just as Captain Marvel is starting up, viewers may notice that the regular Marvel Studios logo, showing clips and illustrations from the last decade of Marvel movies, has been altered.
Instead of the usual heroes and villains, the logo features scenes from Stan Lee’s previous Marvel cameos. Once the compilation has concluded, a simple message – “Thank you Stan” – appears on the screen.
All in all it’s a beautiful tribute to Lee’s cinematic output and the role he played in creating characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther et al.
And technically, the whole thing becomes the biggest, most daring Stan Lee cameo of all – one before the film has actually started, existing outside the narrative itself. For one of Lee’s last screen appearances (he’s expected to crop up in Avengers: Endgame as well) we can’t think of anything more appropriate.