Disney+ Restores Stan Lee Tribute Following Controversial Removal

By Lauren Rouse Updated:
Stan Lee Disney Plus tribute

When Netflix announced that its Marvel series would be leaving the platform in March there was some concern over where they would end up. However, seeing as the distribution rights to the characters of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Punisher reverted back to Marvel in early 2021, it came as no surprise that The Defenders saga moved over to Disney+.

What was surprising were some of the changes Disney made to the Marvel Netflix shows when they arrived at Disney+. 

Having been on Disney+ for a few weeks now, it didn't take long for viewers to spot discrepancies between the shows on Netflix and Disney+. The streamer went to lengths to remove the Netflix credit in each of the opening titles sequences of the six Defenders-centric shows in order to replace it with a Disney logo.

Disney+ also removed a tribute to Stan Lee in The Punisher as well as one for Reg E. Cathey in Luke Cage. The reasoning remains unclear, but it seems this mistake has since been rectified.

Stan Lee Tribute Restored in Marvel Netflix Show

Disney+ has now adjusted its episodes of The Punisher and Luke Cage to include the tributes to Marvel legend Stan Lee and Luke Cage actor Reg E. Cathey.

A title card reading "In Loving Memory of Stan Lee" now appears at the end of The Punisher's Season 2 finale on Disney+.

Stan Lee Tribute the Punisher
The Punisher

The Punisher's second season was released in January 2019, just a few months after Lee's death. However, the tribute appears after a particularly brutal scene in which Frank Castle guns down a group of people.

The Punisher season 2
The Punisher

The "In Memoriam" for actor Reg E. Cathey, who appeared as Reverend James Lucas in seven episodes of Luke Cage, has also been restored at the end of the show's Season 2 finale.

Reg E Cathey tribute Luke Cage
Luke Cage


Disney+ Restores Homages to Marvel Legends

Now that Disney+ has restored the tributes to its Marvel icons, the question remains why they were removed in the first place. The streamer has not acknowledged the removal or restoration of these homages, so it's difficult to say whether it was intentional or a harmless mistake.

Speculation was rife over whether the tribute to Lee in The Punisher was removed due to the violent nature of the scene preceding it. However, the restored tribute card remains in the same place as it was on Netflix. Adding to the confusion is the fact that a similar tribute to Lee was left untouched in an episode of Jessica Jones.

It seems more likely that there was an issue when transferring the video files between streaming services and possibly a version of the episodes without the tributes were mistakenly uploaded to Disney+. Regardless of the reason, fans took notice of this omission and Disney moved to fix the error quickly.

There were concerns that Disney would censor the content of The Defenders shows to fit its family-friendly streaming service. But beyond small errors like this one that doesn't seem to have happened.

The Defenders saga is now streaming on Disney+.


- About The Author: Lauren Rouse
Lauren Rouse has been a writer at The Direct since the site launched in 2020. She has a huge passion for everything pop culture and currently writes news articles for the Marvel, Star Wars, DC and video game branches.