How Stan Lee's 'Captain Marvel' Cameo Changed After The Comic Legend's Death

Last fall, we lost Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee when the creator of some of the world's most famous superheroes passed away at age 95. But that wasn't the last we'd see of Lee, because he had already shot cameos for some upcoming Marvel Studios productions, including this weekend's Captain Marvel. However, that film's scene featuring the comic legend's cameo changed a little bit once Lee passed away, and it made the scene a little more touching. Find out about the Stan Lee Captain Marvel cameo below.

Stan Lee Captain Marvel Cameo

As we've seen in the trailers (and a clip) for Captain Marvel, cosmic superhero Carol Danvers is in pursuit of a shapeshifting Skrull riding a Los Angeles train. While walking through the train and trying to spot the Skrull on the run, she spots someone with his face obscured by a script for the movie Mallrats. It's Stan Lee, and he's just trying to practice his lines for the 1995 Kevin Smith movie that he also had a cameo in as himself. Captain Marvel takes a sweet beat and softly smiles at him before continuing to search for the runaway Skrull.

Originally, the moment was played up for mostly laughs, like pretty much every other cameo Stan Lee has made in Marvel movies over the years. But directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (who also wrote the scene themselves) wanted to make it a little more charming than just another gag. Boden explained to Mashable:

"Instead of just the pure laugh we had, we had a little bit of a smile from Captain Marvel in response to it, and she kind of breaks character for a moment. I think it reflects a little bit of what the audience is feeling, and we allowed that to happen."

The result is extremely effective, as evidenced by the applause that followed Stan Lee's appearance in my screening of the movie last night. Other viewers were touched, instinctively and somewhat bittersweetly saying "Awww!" when Brie Larson flashes a cute smirk at Stan Lee.

In case you missed it in our own interview, Boden and Fleck talked about how the Mallrats reference came about:

"We first had the idea that he should be in that train for that moment. It seemed like her being suspicious that he might be a Skrull would be a fun way to introduce Stan. But then what is he doing? What's he gonna be doing? He can't just be riding the train like listening to a Walkman or something. What's he gonna do and say? And then we thought, what was he doing in '95?"

Since Stan Lee's cameo in Mallrats is all about his influence as the creator of many Marvel Comics characters, it's a perfect little tidbit to make that appearance even more fun, especially since he's practicing his "true believer" line from that movie.

The Other Stan Lee Cameo

However, that appearance is actually the second time Stan Lee got a wonderful tribute in Captain Marvel. Since this is the first Marvel Studios movie to hit theaters since Lee's death, the studio wanted to do something special for the comic book creator. And what better way to do that than letting him take over the opening logo?

Normally when the Marvel Studios logo comes on screen with their orchestral fanfare, it features various shots of Marvel Comics characters from the movies of the Marvel Cinematic universe within the shimmer of the logo itself. But this time, every single piece of footage within the logo was of Stan Lee's various cameos over the years, including some behind the scenes shots that weren't in the movies at all.

If that wasn't enough of a tribute, Marvel Studios laid out their respect for the man after the logo with a simple title card that says "Thank you, Stan." That brought about a big eruption of applause and even some cheers from the crowd at my screening.

That logo tribute was something directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck didn't come up with themselves, but they loved when Marvel pitched it to them. Fleck says, "They said, 'Hey guys, what do you think of this? We were thinking of doing this for the movie.' And we were just like –" Boden interrupts and says, "Loved. We cried." Fleck added, "We were just moved by it."

So were plenty of fans, and it's a lovely way to honor the man who helped make all this possible by creating many of these beloved superheroes that fans have adored for decades.

Captain Marvel is in theaters right now.