Avengers: Endgame explained: Stan Lee's final cameo
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo on Stan the Man's wild farewell
It’s been a long goodbye for Stan Lee.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo tell EW that the one he did for Avengers: Endgame was the last one he shot.
It’s also one of the most lively and colorful. Here’s what went into it…
*** Spoilers Below Loki***
Lee’s cameo in Endgame is a doozy.
It comes just as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) venture back in time to the year 1970 for one more chance at nabbing the Tesseract and the Space Stone contained therein.
You hear the opening bars of Steppenwolf’s “Hey Lawdy Mama,” released that year, and see a white muscle car with a psychedelic bumper sticker declaring: ’Nuff said.
That was just one of Stan the Man’s catchphrases from his messages to readers of Marvel Comics.
We see Lee not as the spry old-timer, but as a grinning, bushy-haired hippie rambler, with a beautiful lady by his side and the gas pedal pressed to the floor.
Welcome to 49 years ago.
“It’s sort of the hippie era, and Stan’s cameoing as a hippie and it’s the free-love era,” Joe Russo explains. “He’s saying, ‘Make love, not war!’”
Visual-effects artists used the same technology they deployed to de-age Michael Douglas in 2015’s Ant-Man, strip decades off Kurt Russell in 2016’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and briefly turn Downey into a teenager in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.
They didn’t get into the specifics of this particular technique, but by scanning Lee’s face, they could Photoshop away the years and make him look half his age.
“It seemed like fun when we originally had the idea, before Stan passed,” Joe says. “Oh, what did Stan look like in the ’70s?”
As archival photos can tell you, he looks pretty much the same as the movie — like this:
“It’s the last Stan Lee cameo that made it to film,” Joe says.
“Can you believe it?” Anthony adds, shaking his head.
That’s very specific phrasing, however, leaving the door open to hear Lee’s voice or see photos of him in future movies.
It’s likely Marvel Studios will continue to honor to the comic book scribe who helped create so much of its universe.