After making cameo appearances in almost every Marvel property that he's created — and then some — Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 finally confirmed a long-held fan theory about Marvel's 94-year-old forefather, the one and only Stan Lee. For a long time now, audiences began to suspect that Lee was in fact playing the same character in each movie, despite appearing in a variety of guises.
While most die-hard fans suspected that Stan Lee could be playing one of the Watchers — an alien race who observe without intervening — the credits for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 revealed that the writer was in fact playing the Watcher's Informant. Given that he recounted numerous cameos to the Watchers who were present, it seems as though Lee has always been the Watcher's Informant in every single one of his appearances, assuming different roles in each movie.
Of course, this revelation led to hardcore internet speculation from fans who argued over which comic book character he could be playing. If Lee isn't a Watcher and there's no Watcher's Informant in the comics, who is he exactly? Let's take a look and see if Lee's latest cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming can unravel this tangled web and shed some light on his role in the MCU.
Stan Lee Mouths Off To Spider-Man
A frustrated Spider-Man fights to protect the streets of New York City in the beginning of Homecoming, all while waiting impatiently for Iron Man to call him up and make the wallcrawler an official Avenger. The problem though is that teenage Peter Parker still doesn't have a complete handle on his abilities, making the sort of mistakes one would expect to see from a fledgling hero.
At one point, Spidey tries to stop a car burglary before realizing that the man in question actually owns the car he's breaking into, accidentally setting off an alarm in the process. Naturally, neighbors from the surrounding houses all stick their heads out of their windows and take turns admonishing Spider-Man for his actions, including the man that helped create him in the first place.
Making his 38th Marvel cameo, #StanLee calls down to the Webhead, shouting;
"Don't make me come down there, you punk!"
Sure, this isn't as earth shattering as Lee's cameo in #GuardiansoftheGalaxy2, but the nature of this role could have wider implications for his character in the long run.
Why Would The Watcher's Informant Appear In This Particular Homecoming Scene?
Spider-Man: Homecoming is filled to the brim with important moments of character development — whether it's action-packed sequences where Parker finds the inner strength to free himself from rubble or whether it's more quieter scenes of growth, such as when he turns down the Iron Spider Armor towards the end of the film.
Any one of these could have provided the perfect opportunity for the Watcher's Informant to step in. After all, the Watchers themselves only appear at key moments when the fate of the universe is at stake. Wouldn't that same rule also apply to their Informant?... Unless, of course, the Informant — or Informants — is charged with keeping track of Earth's heroes for the Watchers, checking in on a regular basis to assess their progress.
If that's the case, then it's perfectly understandable why Stan Lee's character would randomly stop by and see how Spider-Man is performing after he revealed himself to the world in Captain America: Civil War. Otherwise, it makes little sense that the Informant would appear after Spidey accidentally stops someone from stepping into their own car. This is hardly the stuff of legend, after all.
Of course, while this theory might explain why Lee is likely to return in a new guise for the confirmed #SpiderMan sequels, it's also worth bearing in mind that these cameos are ultimately just intended for fun. The reality is that Stan Lee's appearances in movies like #SpiderManHomecoming and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 started out as a respectful homage that evolved into a full-blown tradition for Marvel Studios...
Unless, of course, it turns out that Lee was always intending to vast himself as an omnipotent Marvel character like The One-Above-All! If that's the case, then maybe he can tell us a bit more about what that Sinister Six tease in the Homecoming post credit scenes really means...
Who do you think Stan Lee is really playing in each of his Marvel cameos? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!