To date, The Simpsons franchise has released four short films based on pop-culture characters. When the show was added to Disney+, they were given the free rein to explore the studio’s characters as a way of self-promotion and reaching more viewers. But apparently, not every character was available to The Simpsons, as its showrunner has shared that when they attempted to add a Stan Lee cameo to the recent Loki crossover, The Good, The Bart, and The Loki, Marvel refused to let them go forward with it.
In a chat with ComicBook.com about the making of the short The Good, The Bart, and The Loki, showrunner Al Jean shared that when it came to Marvel sharing any notes regarding things they should avoid, there was only one point: Stan Lee. While planning the short, it was decided that it would include a cameo of the legend. This seemed simple for The Simpsons team, as they possess an audio recording from the time when Stan Lee had appeared on the show.
But when the plan was shared with Marvel, they disclosed that as per their policy, now that Stan Lee has passed away, his cameo appearances are not allowed, which means no past audio or video of the Marvel comics creator can be used now. While Jean was disappointed by the fact, he finds the policy “completely understandable” and thus they complied with it.
During the chat, Jean also reminisced about the time when he got to have lunch with Stan Lee, which he regards as one of the “most surreal moments of my life.” It was around 20 years ago and Jean recalled being very excited and telling Lee that he always wanted a Spider-Man movie to release one day. Even though Lee isn’t around anymore, Jean is glad that he got to see his creations transition from the pages of comic books to being a part of the biggest and highest-grossing film franchise ever.
Stan Lee appeared in 22 Marvel movies, starting from Iron Man in 2008 to Avengers Endgame in 2019. Though he passed away in November 2018, his cameos in Captain Marvel and Avengers Endgame were already filmed before his death. In his final film appearance, Lee played the role of a car driver in the 1970’s who is a war protestor. A digital re-creation of his wife, Joan Boocock Lee, also accompanies his character in the film.
It was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 that established Stan Lee as an actual character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and gave meaning to his disjointed cameos across the films. In the film, Lee is seen with a group of Watchers who are ancient beings that keep an eye over multiple universes. While talking to them on a faraway planetoid, he keeps sharing stories about his life, including the time when he was a Federal Express man, which he was in Captain America: Civil War. This confirmed that he has been the informants of the Watchers and has been spying on events that place on Earth on their behalf.
Stan Lee had also done cameos in Marvel shows like Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, The Punishers, etc.