Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige Says Stan Lee's Influence Will Never Go Away

For the hundredth episode of Variety's Playback with Kris Tapley, the host brought on Marvel [...]

For the hundredth episode of Variety's Playback with Kris Tapley, the host brought on Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige as his guest, and along the way, the pair spoke about a lot of things -- ending with a brief chat about the legacy that the late Stan Lee will leave behind.

"We brought a world to life," Feige corrected Tapley when the host credited Marvel Studios with "creating a world," which segued into a conversation about Lee.

"I was there — not for every cameo, but for almost every cameo he's ever shot, going back to X-Men," Feige said. "He was very special, and I've always said, anybody who met Stan, I've never heard one story of anybody meeting Stan and not being overwhelmed with excitement. He never disappointed. I was lucky enough to see him about 10 days before he passed away. Coincidentally, I went to his house to see him. In some ways I never thought this day would come; I thought he'd be going…Kirk Douglas just turned 102, I thought Stan was going to be there and literally outlive all of us. And in the same way, it doesn't seem like he's gone. Because just like with Walt Disney on this lot, his influence will never go away."

You can hear the interview below.

Lee passed away in November, with heart and respiratory failure noted as his official cause of death. Lee's health had been a consistent concern for a number of years, and since the passing of his wife Joan in 2017, Lee had seemed to be in a physical and mental state of decline. These symptoms were thrown into sharper relief because of a string of scandals that threw into question the care Lee was receiving from those around him.

Lee, the most celebrated figure in American comics, began his comics career in the 1940s and is widely credited with revolutionizing superhero storytelling by co-creating (largely with the late Jack Kirby) the Marvel Comics Universe in the 1960s.

Lee had a hand in the creation of Spider-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men and hundreds of other characters for Marvel and other publishers during the course of his career. As the face of the publisher for decades, Lee cultivated an image as the godfather of comics, and became the ambassador between comics and the outside world. At a time when most critics did not take the art form seriously, Lee was one of the first comics creators to speak at colleges.

As a result of his Marvel pedigree, Lee is also one of the highest-grossing film producers of all time, having been kept on as an executive producer for Marvel Studios films as well as those from Fox and Sony which feature characters from Marvel. There is a certain symmetry to that, since in the early days it was Lee who most aggressively pursued TV and movie deals for Marvel.