While the Marvel machine continues to move along at an impressive pace, there's no denying that the franchise suffered a major loss with the death of Stan Lee late last year.
The cameo master continues to have an impact on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the legacy he left in his wake will affect the storytelling of every project to come. While speaking with ComicBook.com at the TCAs, Marvel Television boss Jeph Loeb spoke about Lee's influence on the franchise.
"I don't think there's a day that goes by that I don't tell a Stan story," said Loeb. "And mostly it just comes from a very Marvel way of looking at the story, which is when a showrunner, or a writer, or even just our own staff start talking about what's the next thing that we wanna go after or develop or make. When we start talking about it, it always starts with okay who is this woman? Who is this man? What is it that they want? What's keeping them from achieving that goal?
Loeb addressed the superpowers aspect of their characters, saying that they come secondary to the characters themselves and are only there to heighten the stakes — as Lee established with collaborators like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko decades ago.
"But, right now it's how do we make the man underneath the mask more interesting? Or the woman underneath? Even if the mask is metaphorical. Even if it's just the mask is this is who they're pretending to be because they can't show the world that they're good, evil, smart, funny, capable, not capable, desperate to be loved, desperate to be hated. Any of those things start there and then come tell me a story."
Loeb pivoted to mention how Lee's legacy has impacted the story showrunner Noah Hawley is telling with Legion, which is returning for its third and final season later this year.
"And the best showrunners, like Noah, came in and told a new story of David Haller. Didn't tell me a story about Legion and superpowers and ... I mean Division 3 and all of those other wonderful characters came later," Loeb explained. "Just started with 'this is who he is' and then he meets Syd. And there's a moment that is at the end of the first episode where he escapes and they're down by on the rocks trying to get to the boat, and Melanie is like, 'Get on the boat. It's time to go.' And people are shooting at them and all kinds of things are going on. And he stops. The show stops. And I've told Noah it's my favorite moment."
For all of the insanity, Legion continues to focus on the characters — which is what Stan would prefer.
The third and final season of Legion is rumored to premiere on FX later this year.