Greetings, you Marvel-ous movie maniacs! You’ve decided to join us in our celebration of Stan “The Man” Lee and we’re excited to have you along for this most epic compendium of cameos. Whether you only spent the last month, year, or decade giving yourself to the passion of spotting the nearly infinite Smilin’ Stan walk-ons we’re hoping to surprise you with a few of the films found below.
Sure, we’ve got your usual suspects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we also put our peepers on a gnarly vampire yarn and Anne Hathaway’s royal wedding. We stuck exclusively to Stan Lee’s cinematic outings minus his narration-only jobs (sorry, Citizen Toxie). All the Marvel zombies at FSR gathered, conversed, and ranked this list, and we definitely look forward to taking your complaints on our Twitter feeds. Don’t @ Dass though, he’s likely to Hulk-out.
We will miss Stan Lee as he joins Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko amongst the Celestials, but we’re also incredibly grateful that he wiggled his way into every one of these films. It will be hard to imagine the next Marvel movie without his trademark cameo performance, but for now, let’s dive in and appreciate all the incredible choices he made within such limited runtime.
47. Street Art (Deadpool 2)
While he never makes a physical appearance in Deadpool 2, Stan Lee can be spotted in a number of shots throughout the film. At one point, if you squint and freeze the frame, you can catch Stan the Man in a painting at the X-Mansion as well as a bust in Professor X’s domicile. The most significant cameo comes in the form of a 2D, CGI mural slapped on the side of a building seen after Domino (Zazie Beetz), the only X-Force member with any grace, plummets towards the convoy securing Firefist (Julian Dennison). There were a lot of personal reasons to keep Lee away from the sequel’s set, but the producers were determined to check his cameo box for fandom. – Brad Gullickson
46. Terrified Home Owner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Stan Lee’s career grew up under the shadow of the threat of total nuclear commitment. Nuclear winter was a matter of when, not if. It’s funny, but terror can lead to beautiful art. In this scene, we witness the horror of a missile launch. Apocalypse is launching all the nuclear weapons into space. However, nobody knows that. As the missiles fly, we listen to the masterwork that is the second movement of Beethoven’s 7th symphony. Creation and destruction. Devastating and beautiful. As a creator, Lee was obsessed with making everything human and relatable, even the apocalypse. What is more authentic and personal than holding a loved one (played by real-life spouse Joan Lee) close as you process the realization of your nightmares. How fast does a missile go? How long do we have? – William Dass
45. Stan Lee Avatar (Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2)
Venellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) ventures deeper into the Internet in an effort to make money as an annoying pop-up ad. Her first assignment is to take on the avatars swarming through the various properties of Oh My Disney. As she evades Stormtroopers and offends Eeyore, she quickly wanders past Stan Lee’s avatar scurrying through the crowd. Stan did not provide a voice for the moment, but considering how much Marvel has incorporated itself into the Mouse House, it’s only fitting that he make an appearance as the face of the MCU. Once inside, he’ll never leave. – Brad Gullickson
44. Hot Dog Vendor (X-Men)
By far one of the least animated of Lee’s cameos in the whole bunch, his X-men appearance is more of an Easter egg than anything else. Short-lived and unannounced like a Hitchcock cameo, Lee appears among a group of aghast beachgoers gawking at Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison). It was only the fourth cameo in his career, so the culture of finding Stan Lee hadn’t been established yet, which means most people probably missed it. – Luke Hicks
43. Waterhose Man (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Jean Grey is a beast. Comic book fans have known for a long time that she’s easily the most powerful mutant on the planet, but the films struggled to revel in her power. Brett Ratner took over for the third (mostly abysmal) entry, but at least they found a way to retcon a reasoning as to why Jean’s powers were so blah in the first two films. You see, Professor X slapped a mental restraint on her as a child. As we see in this scene, kiddie Jean Grey was far too powerful to be let off the chain. Unchecked, her abilities could completely upend a tiny neighborhood, including Stan Lee’s simple act of watering the grass. Give it up to Marvel’s head cheese, even in the tiniest of cameos he threw his entire being into the emotion he was asked to deliver. “WTF?” – Brad Gullickson
42. Graduation Guest (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
We’ve all been forced to attend a high school graduation. They’re the worst. Once you’ve walked the plank and accepted your diploma, the idea of returning to a similar event is absurd. Family, please stop with the invites. Naturally, if you are hijacked into one of these proceedings, your mind immediately starts to wander, eyes darting for whatever shiny light of distraction you might find. Stan Lee is someone’s unlucky grandfather, bored out of his gourd, but playing the part well. That is until he spot’s Andrew Garfield’s friendly neighborhood web-slinger swinging down behind the bleachers. “Look!” No one does. They’re all stuck in un-rapt attention. – Brad Gullickson
41. ‘Nuff Said Hippie (Avengers: Endgame)
According to The Russo Brothers, this is the last Stan Lee cameo for the MCU. We’ll see. Who knows what trickery they’ll use to keep the Man cinematically tied to the characters, but I wouldn’t completely count out Smilin’ Stan references. However, if this is the last we see of him, the Avengers: Endgame appearance is a satisfying representation of Lee’s persona. After failing to acquire The Tesseract during their portion of the Time Heist, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark attempt another temporal robbery by traveling back to New Jersey’s Camp Lehigh in 1970. Our introduction to the location is a speeding silver Chevelle racing past the military base. The camera moves from an extreme close-up of a bumper sticker reading “‘Nuff Said” to a de-aged Lee sporting his classic 70s ‘chops and shouting “Make Love, Not War!” The sticker represents Lee’s signature sign-off for all of his Stan’s Soapbox editorials that would famously appear in Marvel Comics single issues. Lee prided himself on speaking to the youth of America, taking as many opportunities to champion empathy and tolerance. The hippie behind the wheel of the Chevelle feels like a genuine extension of the progressive Marvel EIC.