As the most infamously Easter Egg-strewn movies in Marvel's roster, it's no surprise that the release of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 was accompanied by a slew of articles revealing the tiny hints embedded in the movie — but no cheeky fourth-wall break was as influential as Stan Lee's 36th movie cameo. Shown chilling with some bald dudes on an asteroid, Lee regales them with tales of his many cameos, including the time in Civil War when he was a Fed-EX delivery man.
This sent the fandom spiraling into speculation. Were these bald people actually #Marvel comics' Watchers? Did this mean that #StanLee is Uatu, Earth's Watcher? Questions about the in-universe consequences aside, others pointed out that — because the Watchers are technically owned by Fox as part of the Fantastic Four franchise — this quick scene meant that Marvel Studios had made some kind of deal with Fox for use of the characters. And of course, others wondered if this meant that the Fantastic Four themselves would turn up in the #MCU.
Now, MCU head honcho Kevin Feige has stepped in to clear some things up about what Stan Lee's Vol. 2 cameo means for the franchise — and who Stan Lee really is.
"Well, I wouldn’t say you saw Uatu. I would say that you saw some Watchers. Stan Lee clearly exists above and apart from the reality of all the films, so the notion that he could be sitting there, on a cosmic pit stop, during the jump gate sequence in Guardians was something very fun."
This is a very bold statement: In his interview with Collider, Feige seems to be suggesting that Stan Lee himself is a pan-dimensional being, transcending our reality to cross over into the fiction he himself created. This has some huge metaphysical implications for our philosophical and scientific theories of reality, and I'm sure the folks at NASA will be speaking with Stan Lee shortly — if they're not already working together on some kind of machine that will allow us to break the barriers between universes. Neat.
Interestingly, Feige also mentioned that Lee's now infamous cameo (credited as "The Watchers' Informant") nearly didn't make it to the final cut.
"James had that idea and we shot that cameo and loved it so much that you see it a couple of times in the movie. It wasn’t in there, for a long time, and we put it back in, towards the end of the process. We thought it would be fun to keep that in there because that really says, 'So wait a minute, is this the same character who’s popped up in all these films? Is this the same person?' "
We can only speculate over why the cameo was nearly cut, and it seems likely that the filmmakers were hesitant to make so bold a statement with the quick scene. But considering how much conversation Lee's 36th cameo has generated, not to mention the hints that Marvel Studios and Fox may be working out even more deals to share characters, it's a good thing that the scene was left in.
Plus, y'know, it's funny.
Tell us in the comments: Which is your favorite Stan Lee cameo?