Marvel Studios' Executive Vice President of Production Victoria Alonso says the Disney-owned studio will "never try to replace" Marvel Comics visionary Stan Lee, who died in November 2018. Lee famously made cameo appearances in every Marvel Studios production from 2008's Iron Man through this year's Avengers: Endgame, where Lee appeared in a 1970s-set scene as his final cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Lee did not appear in Endgame followup Spider-Man: Far From Home — the epilogue for the 23-movie Infinity Saga — and Alonso says Marvel Studios might have cameos from "other people," but the Marvel movie stalwart is irreplaceable.
“Stan Lee is not replaceable. So we will never try,” Alonso told Miami Latin News when asked "who's next" in line for repeat cameos following Lee's death. “That is the legend, the man, we will never try to replace him. Other people will come around, and then you have someone as phenomenally creative as [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige, but there’s only one Stan Lee.”
Feige, who has shepherded the entirety of the MCU and was recently elevated further to Marvel chief creative officer, has no intentions to take over Lee's role as a cameo hallmark in future Marvel Studios productions. In 2017, when Feige said Lee is “much more charismatic… much more endeared,” the producer confessed he bungled a brief and ultimately cut appearance in 2000's X-Men, where Feige served as associate producer.
“The only reason I did it is because I was completely covered,” Feige said on the Maltin On Movies podcast. “I was a Weapon X tech pulling Wolverine’s claws out of the oven. But I had a hood and mask… gloves. Every inch of me was covered. I said, ‘oh, that I’ll do.’ And I could barely do that, by the way.”
During the 45th annual Saturn Awards in September, where Feige was honored with the inaugural Stan Lee World Builder Award, the producer said he was “incredibly humbled” to receive an award named after the “genius” Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Avengers, and other stars of Marvel Studios’ blockbuster universe.
“Stan was incredibly proud of the MCU cameos. I would remind him that he also co-created all these characters and he’d sort of brush that off and go, ‘Yes, but these cameos,’” Feige said. “I remember one time he was going to shoot soon after lunch and just before lunch I look around, and the crew’s not there, and I realized they’ve all gone down to the comic shop to buy comics for Stan to sign. And if you’ve met Stan you know that, of course, he stayed there and he signed every one and he talked to each member of the crew. He was infused with humanity and kindness. He put that into every creation he had, which is why they all still resonate today and will resonate, I believe, for centuries to come.”
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022.