'Avengers 4' Directors Talk Working With Stan Lee

Joe and Anthony Russo have made a pretty significant mark on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that included working with an icon.

During Collider's recent screening and Q&A for Avengers: Infinity War, the Russo Brothers were asked what it was like working with Stan Lee, who made cameo appearances in all of the Russos' MCU films. As they explained, the Marvel Comics titan, who recently passed away, left a pretty big impact on them.

“We meet a lot of people in this business." Joe Russo explained. "And there’s very few people that you lock up around, where you get really nervous. And I think a lot of that typically happens around people that had a major impact on you as a child. There’s something about the emotional memories of things that inspired you and led you to the point that you’re at in your life. And obviously, comic books were a massive influence on us creatively, and the mythology behind comic books. Many of the books we read were part of Stan’s creations."

"Having him on set, we were always like kids." Joe continued. "Just hearing his voice, and growing up watching the Spider-Man cartoon, these were things that were really really important to us creatively. So it was always a blast, and he was always a lot of fun to have on set. Whenever he came on set, the crew would light up. Part of the fun of sitting in that writing room and eating donuts and yelling at each other for eight months about what the best scenes were was figuring out what Stan’s cameo was going to be.”

"When he would hit set, he was just exuberant." Anthony Russo continued. "The energy that he would bring to set, especially at his age, was stunning. You could tell he just loved to be there. It lit him up. Like Joe said, he lit everybody else up around him. He was the kind of guy who always wanted more lines, he always wanted to do more, which is fantastic. I mean, it was a great lesson that sort of, even for these small moments, he’s bringing everything to the table that he possibly can. Making the most of the moment. I think that was part of what’s so special about him."

While Lee's cameos became a mainstay in the MCU, the Russos revealed what the process was like in preparing him.

“We’d tell him [beforehand]." Anthony explained. "Because sometimes, it would take a little preparation, in terms of costuming. That stuff had to be worked out."

So, were there any cameos that Lee wasn't entirely on board with?

“Just that one nude scene we pitched him." Joe joked. "He wasn’t comfortable, we said ‘Okay, don’t worry about it.’ No, I mean, he always was game for any cameo. His joke on set always was ‘How come I only get one line?!’"

While fans are still reeling from Lee passing away last month, it sounds like fans can still expect a cameo from him in the Russos' next MCU film, the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4.


“I’m not going to tell you what specifically," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained last month, "but Stan always appreciated a good surprise.”

Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp are now available on digital platforms, DVD, and Blu-ray. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019; the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019; and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019.