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How We Almost Didn’t Have the ‘Stan Lee Cameo’ in Modern Marvel Films

Joshua M. Patton
6 min readNov 15, 2018

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When the 95-year-old patriarch of Marvel Comics and modern American mythology Stan Lee passed away this week, people from all walks of life took to social media to honor what he meant to them. Everyone from Alice Cooper to the Wu-Tang Clan, from Jake Tapper to Jake Paul, actors, writers, artists, musicians, Sen. Ted Cruz, and monster truck drivers all offered condolences on his passing. People who knew him well will offer better elegies than I could write. Like many young nerds, Stan Lee was the voice of my animated childhood. “With great power comes great responsibility,” might be the greatest phrase ever written. Leave it to those who knew him best to talk about what he really meant. One such eulogy, as part of Kevin Smith’s Fatman Beyond podcast revealed that the legendary Stan Lee cameos almost never happened.

The story comes from Tom DeSanto, the producer and screenwriter who is largely responsible for both X-Men and X2: X-Men United. During the portion of the podcast where members of the audience speak, Tom told a story about how that first Stan Lee cameo almost didn’t happen. First, some context. Before the first X-Men film, superhero movies were not really the blockbuster powerhouses they are today. Just a few years earlier, the second of Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies seemingly killed not just that franchise, but the…

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Joshua M. Patton

Entertainment, culture, politics, essays & lots of Star Wars. Bylines: Comic Years, CBR. Like my work? Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/O5O0GR