The late, great Stan Lee has been a common fixture of Marvel Legacy movies that was further amplified by his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The cameos of Stan were a major staple of the monumental franchise, showing up in different films that led fans to spot him whenever he appeared.
From 2008's Iron Man to 2019's Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Comics creator appeared in every single one of those movies. Even James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 took it up a notch by teasing that Stan's appearances were more than cameos, hinting that the character had a connection to an alien race known as the Watchers.
While Stan was best known for his Marvel movie appearances, the Marvel Comics champion also appeared in other films such as Kevin Smith's Mallrats and even in the realm of DC through Teen Titans Go! To The Movies. Now, a captivating tribute to Stan has surfaced.
While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Jay and Silent Bob actor and comics enthusiast Kevin Smith reflected about Stan Lee's cameo from 2019's Captain Marvel, where the Marvel comics legend referenced the film Mallrats during a scene:
"Years later, my man is on a train in Captain Marvel, and he’s reading a Mallrats script and reciting his line out loud. And there’s my name on the script. It was almost as if he returned the favor. I was a flavor of the month, pop-culture kid in terms of 1995, and here he was firmly ensconced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and part of the American pop culture landscape forever. And then he gave me a shoutout, which was almost like, “Hey kids, you might not remember this guy, but he played Silent Bob.”
Smith shared that "it was really kind of poetic" to hear Stan's "Trust me, true believer" line during the famed cameo from the Marvel blockbuster:
"It was really kind of poetic and to hear him saying his line, which, to be fair, was some shit that he would say in real life all the time: “Trust me, true believer.” It was everything."
Lastly, Smith revealed that Stan Lee's reference to Mallrats within an MCU film was his "kind of Oscar" while also mentioning that the View Askewniverse is "firmly into the Marvel universe" after that iconic cameo:
"Hopefully, 26 years into my career, people understand that I mean this when I say this. Winning an Oscar is not really important to me. Academy Awards and stuff, which is the bellwether, highmark of our trade and craft, is just not that important to me. Having Stan Lee reading a copy of the Mallrats script, which then kind of meta-shouts out the cameo he did, and it’s the only cameo he ever did in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where we know for a fact he’s playing Stan Lee... And thus, puts the View Askewniverse firmly into the Marvel Universe as well, which means during the snap, I might’ve made it and shit like that. That is far better, to me, than winning the tin. That’s my kind of Oscar right there, man. And the symmetry to it, with him coming full circle from Mallrats, from one cameo to a lifetime of cameos by the end of his run, meant everything, at least for me."
WHAT THIS MEANS
Years after his passing, Stan Lee is still making an impact to notable figures in Hollywood, and this latest tribute from Kevin Smith is solid evidence of that. Stan's cameo from Mallrats was an iconic one since he actually played himself during that movie, giving advice to Jason Lee's Brodie about life.
In a way, this perfectly encapsulates Stan as a person, only popping up in a pivotal moment in the film to give laughter and wisdom. Smith's touching tribute to the comics legend is a fitting example of Stan's impact, and it transcends beyond his cameos.
2019's Captain Marvel served as the penultimate cameo of Stan Lee in the MCU, and it's only appropriate that the franchise helped steer the direction of that appearance for the legend to portray himself in a perfect setting. Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck previously revealed that they slightly modified the scene to pay tribute to Stan's passing.
No doubt, Smith's expression of gratitude towards Stan is a remarkable tribute, and it's heartwarming to hear that no award, even an Oscar, will be greater than the comic legend's "meta-shout out" to Mallrats.