×

Marvel Studios Chief Kevin Feige Reflects on Stan Lee’s Legacy, Teases Lingering Cameos

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige represents something of a super-fan in a global community of followers devoted to Stan Lee — the comicbook creator who died Monday at 95 following complications from a medical emergency.

Feige spoke with Variety shortly after the news sent Twitter and an army of movie stars into tribute mode, where many reflected on the significant heroes that Lee brought to shelves, movie theaters, and streaming screens (including Spider-Man, Black Panther, and the X-Men).

“The amazing thing to be thankful for is that Stan got to see it all happen,” Feige said of the massive success his Disney-owned unit has seen since the Marvel Cinematic Universe was reborn in 2008 with Robert Downey Jr.’s “Iron Man.” Three separate phases of Marvel films, which encompass the record-smashing “Avengers” series, have reportedly grossed close to $7 billion.

“Stan dominated pop culture. He saw it and was aware and he loved it. I’ve been saying for years that the characters he created will outlive all of us making the movies, and enter the pantheon of myth which he read and was inspired by as a kid,” said Feige.

The strategy at Marvel Studios has been relentlessly praised, and impossible to match for other Hollywood companies. Lee’s contribution to that model, Feige said, was insisting the characters be rooted in their larger social and emotional contexts.

“Stan was always very gracious with all of us at Marvel Studios and very encouraging. Despite his persona on stage, Stan was very humble. He was not the type to come in and tell us how to be, but he encouraged us to follow his lead. Take ‘Black Panther’ — people would talk about the importance of the movie and what a brave thing it was for Walt Disney Studios to spend this kind of money on an almost entirely African-American cast — which is entirely true. But look at what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did in the 1960s, creating that character in the center of the Civil Rights movement,” said Feige.

“At many turns, as we work on the movies and aim to do justice, part of that is in taking those kinds of risks. And recognizing the important thematics that Stan did,” he concluded.

A key to Lee’s enduring cultural relevance were the brief and gratifying cameos he would make in the Marvel titles. Variety reminded Feige of 2017 reports that Lee had recorded several such cameos back-to-back, to be peppered into several future films.

“I’m not going to tell you what specifically,” Feige said, “but Stan always appreciated a good surprise.”

More Film

  • Stuber

    ‘Stuber’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Stuber.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.91 million through Sunday for 1,325 national ad airings on 42 networks. [...]

  • BTS - J-Hope, V, Jungkook, Jimin,

    BTS' 'Bring the Soul: The Movie' Gets Global Theatrical Release

    BTS will be back on the big screen this summer. The Korean pop group announced today that their latest feature film, “Bring the Soul: The Movie,” will have a global release on August 7. It arrives just six and a half months after the septet’s last film release, “Love Yourself in Seoul.” “Bring the Soul” [...]

  • Box Office: 'Yesterday' Movie Takes on

    Box Office: 'Annabelle Comes Home' and 'Yesterday' Take on 'Toy Story 4'

    The weekend box office has gone to the dolls. “Annabelle Comes Home,” a supernatural horror film about a possessed toy, is facing off against another band of plastic figurines: “Toy Story 4.” Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” is expected to dominate box office charts again over newcomers “Annabelle Comes Home” and “Yesterday,” a fantasy musical set [...]

  • 'The Current War' Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch,

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult Feud in 'The Current War' Trailer (Watch)

    101 Studios has released an official new trailer for the Martin Scorcese-produced thriller, “The Current War,”  offering a glimpse into the dramatic 19th century battle over electricity that became known as the “war of the currents.” The film, which is a dramatization of real-life events, will follow the tumultuous journey of Thomas Edison, played by [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Oscars: 31 Upcoming Films That Could Enter the Awards Race

    The year reaches the halfway mark on June 30, and traditionally films from the first six months have an uphill battle in the Oscar race. However, this year’s January-June crop might get a boost from the accelerated schedule: Nominations voting is a tight Jan. 2-Jan. 7, 2020. So if voters start their homework now, early [...]

  • Yesterday Movie Danny Boyle

    Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock

    Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content