Last night, comic book legend (and co-creator of such beloved characters as Spider-Man, The Hulk, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and many, many more) Stan Lee unfortunately left this world to finally reunite with his late wife. Today Marvel Studios president, and architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kevin Feige has spoken about the legacy and life of the great man, and what’s still to come.
“The amazing thing to be thankful for is that Stan got to see it all happen,” Feige said, in reference to the general shift of pop culture opinion on Lee’s creations, and the global mega-success of the MCU (which has presently generated almost $7 billion), “Stan dominated pop culture. He saw it and was aware and he loved it. I’ve been saying for years that the characters he created will outlive all of us making the movies, and enter the pantheon of myth which he read and was inspired by as a kid.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become the biggest franchise in Hollywood, a well-oiled machine of blockbuster entertainment that presently releases three new entries a year – each one building off of those that preceded it in an ever-evolving, interconnected meta-narrative that perfectly echoes the fully populated universe of the characters’ four-colour origins, and Feige is adamant that it’s that devotion to the traditional ideals of Marvel that is responsible for the studio’s meteoric success.
“Stan was always very gracious with all of us at Marvel Studios and very encouraging. Despite his persona on stage, Stan was very humble. He was not the type to come in and tell us how to be, but he encouraged us to follow his lead. Take Black Panther — people would talk about the importance of the movie and what a brave thing it was for Walt Disney Studios to spend this kind of money on an almost entirely African-American cast — which is entirely true. But look at what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did in the 1960s, creating that character in the centre of the Civil Rights movement. At many turns, as we work on the movies and aim to do justice, part of that is in taking those kinds of risks. And recognising the important thematics that Stan did.”
As Stan Lee passes, many have already begun to ask what happens next as per the adored creator’s popular cameos in the MCU (the exuberant writer would make a brief appearance in every Marvel Studios feature, as a tribute and token of good luck). On those, Feige was less open, but wanted to reassure fans that they hadn’t seen the last of Stan, and that there were more cameos to come.
“I’m not going to tell you what specifically,” Feige said, with a sad smile, “but Stan always appreciated a good surprise.”
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