Stan Lee's final cameo in the Marvel universe will come in 'Avengers: Endgame'
Avengers: Endgame is on its way to cinemas later this month, bringing a 22-film arc to an end. But the unfolding multi-movie narrative isn't the only landmark for Marvel over the last 12 months.
In November last year, legendary comic book creator Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. In his 40s he had created the Fantastic Four comic, which helped to save Marvel Comics and solidified him as a giant in the industry. In the following years, he created dozens of Marvel's most popular superheroes, and lived long enough to see many of them adapted for the big screen.
Lee created Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, Daredevil, Thor, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Nick Fury, Black Widow, the X-Men, and many more.
The stories he told went on to not only mould the Marvel Universe, but shape the comic industry as a whole. This, coupled with the charismatic larger-than-life character he cultivated for himself, meant that he was more than welcome to make an appearance in their movie adaptations.
This was Stan Lee's final heartfelt message to his fans:
The first was back in 1989, when he appeared as a jury member in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, a TV movie spinning off from the hit live-action show starring Bill Bixby. From there, he starred in the first X-Men in 2000 as a hot dog vendor, before he saved a child from falling from debris in Spider-Man two years later.
Since then, he's appeared in 36 more Marvel movies, including some characters he didn't create, such as Deadpool and Venom. Beyond that, he even popped up as himself in other movies such as Mallrats, Wreck It Ralph 2 and Teen Titans Go.
His total tally ranked up to a staggering 45, which seemed to culminate in Captain Marvel - which featured its own touching tribute at the beginning of the film.
However, it turns out that it will be Avengers: Endgame that will feature Lee's final cameo, as even in ill health he had filmed some scenes in advance. It was unclear how far forward these pre-filmed sequences were planned, but now it has been confirmed by one of the directors of Endgame that this month's entry will be the last one in the Marvel universe to feature the comic book creator.
During their press tour in India, co-director Joe Russo said that Lee would have his final appearance in the MCU. He does add that he doesn't recall if one was filmed in time for Spider-Man Far From Home in time - and spoke about what it was like to work with him on set.
"It was incredible, I grew up on these comic books," Russo told the crowd. "Stan Lee was an idol of mine since I was a kid and to be able to have the opportunity to not only work on the material that he created, but to work with him, was a dream come true."
Seeing as Lee created and wrote the original Avengers comic over 55 years ago, it's fitting that he would be able to star in the conclusion of its film series, even posthumously.
Check out the latest footage from the upcoming 'Avengers: Endgame', giving fans their first look at Thanos: