Every Stan Lee Cameo Ranked

Face front, True Believers! We’ve got the definitive ranking of every single one of Stan Lee’s cinematic cameos.

Stan Lee
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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.

Keep reading for the definitive ranking of all 43 Stan Lee cameos as voted on by Hayden Cornmell, William Dass, Kieran Fisher, Luke Hicks, Natalie Mokry, Sheryl Oh, and myself.

Red Dots

45. Street Art (Deadpool 2)

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


44. Terrified Home Owner (X-Men: Apocalypse)

Xmen 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


43. Stan Lee Avatar (Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2)

Stan Lee Wreck It Ralph

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


42. Hot Dog Vendor (X-Men)

Stan Lee Xmen

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


41. Waterhose Man (X-Men: The Last Stand)

Xmen 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


40. Graduation Guest (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

Stan Lee The Amazing Spider Man

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


39. Bus Passenger (Doctor Strange)

Doctor Strange Stan Lee

This is just the first of several oblivious Stan Lee performances. The question is though, is he unaware, or does his omnipotent film jumper delight in playing blind, deaf, and dumb? Frankly, public transportation is always a dangerous endeavor. It’s best to bury your head in a book and mind your own business. Lee is too lost in the wild concepts of Aldous Huxley’s “The Doors of Perception” to even notice the good Doctor (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) plummeting from the mirror dimension and collapsing atop his window. Who is to say whether their conflict is any more dire than the one Lee is battling within? – Brad Gullickson


38. Not Larry King (Iron Man 2)

Stan Lee Iron Man

Stan Lee can’t catch a break in the Iron Man films. Mistaken for Hef in the first one, casually ignored as Larry King in the second movie. He only wants to shake the hand of his creation, but no respect, no respect. That’s ok. Tony Stark’s life is about to fall apart anyway, and Lee will be there to witness ol’ Shellhead’s entire rise and fall and rise again and fall again and maybe rise again storyline. – Brad Gullickson


37. Dapper Dog Walker (Venom)

Venom Stan Lee

(Pardon our lack of a screenshot, but enjoy this Variant cover to Venom #151 by artist Chris Stevens)   This one plays into its cheese factor, but it is definitely serviceable in the context of a film as straightforward as Venom. Lee gets a teachable line and an adorable dog to fuel a quick joke. His appearance acts as an overall palate cleanser that helps to reorder the chaos that comes before it. – Sheryl Oh


36. Grandpa Frakes (The Concessionaires Must Die!)

Grandpa Frakes

Stan Lee acted as an executive producer on this micro-budgeted wannabe Clerks, and as is his right, he pops up as the influential Grandpa Frakes. This tale of nerds looking to save their great movie theater workspace/hangout is meant to strike the hearts of fandom everywhere. Those that squeal with glee at the sight of Stan Lee should understand the hero’s upbringing through the prism of cinema, comic books, and D&D. Of course, it only makes sense that Lee would play the role of pop culture teacher to the young protagonist at this film’s center. – Brad Gullickson


35. Old Man at Crossing (Daredevil)

Daredevil

With his head firmly planted inside his newspaper, clearly overcome with concern regarding the crime wave spreading through his city, Stan Lee narrowly steps into traffic and head-on with a Mac truck. Thankfully, young Matt Murdock has his extrasensory abilities honed and swings his cane in for the save. Phew. – Brad Gullickson


34. Pageant Judge (Iron Man 3)

Iron Man Stan Lee

Calm down, sir! Stan Lee is practically bouncing out of his chair at the sight of a perfect 10 at this random beauty pageant in rural Tennessee. Clearly, this was an audition for Dirty Grandpa 2. We should be above this level of old man pervert humor, but nope. In some ways, this guy here is a glimpse at a possible future for Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), if he was free from the responsibilities of planet-saving. – Brad Gullickson


33. Professor Baker (Jugular Wine: Vampire Odyssey)

Jugular Wine Stan Lee

You will find no weirder movie on this list than Jugular Wine: A Vampire Odyssey. The film itself is your basic collection of bloodsucking shenanigans, but director Blair Murphy called in a few significant friends to populate the picture. Besides Stan Lee as the nefarious Professor Baker, we also get quick appearances from that other comic book legend Frank Miller and onetime Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins. A quick search on YouTube will unearth the only scenes worth watching, but as was the case with everything Lee did, the cameo-master gave everything to his performance. – Brad Gullickson


32. Man in Fair (Spider-Man)

Stan Lee Spider Man

If Blade knocked on the door of superhero cinema potential, and X-Men swung it open, then Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man kicked the damn thing off its hinges. After 2002, nothing would be the same. Of course, at the time there was a major question as to whether or not the public would accept a character as so blatantly comic booky as Peter Parker and his alter-ego Spider-Man. Eight appearances and three reboots later, I say “Ha.” On the Stan Lee front, there is not much to report. As the Green Goblin pumpkin bombs the hell outta the World Unity Fair, Lee stares up in horror. Easy enough to blink and never see him. Still, Spidey may ultimately be Lee’s most significant co-creation, and to finally see Lee populate the New York City of Marvel Comics sends chills down the spine of fandom. – Brad Gullickson


31. Willie Lumpkin (Fantastic Four)

Stan Lee Fantastic Four

This is not your average Stan Lee cameo, and frankly, it should rank even higher on this list. “The Fantastic Four” is the comic book that changed everything. Before these squabbling friends were launched into space, superhero stories were only concerned with the punching and delivery of American justice. With the FF, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby revealed that internal conflict and emotional drama was just as rich an entertainment as fisticuffs. So, how do you fit Stan Lee into his most significant work? He’s gotta be Willie Lumpkin, the reoccurring mailman assigned to the Baxter Building! This character was a fan-favorite supporting player in the comics of the 60s and the only shame here is that Stan Lee didn’t get to show off his special ear-wiggling superpowers. – Brad Gullickson

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Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.