Excelsior! No Marvel experience is complete without an appearance by Stanley Martin Leiber, known to everyone as Stan Lee. Across pretty much every Marvel cinematic production, his cameos have frequently varied from brief “blink and you’ll miss it” moments to a performance that steals the show. Stan’s Easter Eggs in the Marvel universe are enigmatic but they don’t play too much on your mind whenever he appears. Who he is or why he’s there isn’t too important, as every moment is guaranteed to make you smile.
Here’s a list of the best Stan Lee cameos in Marvel movies from oldest to newest…
1. The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989)
A prominent appearance way back in 1989 as Stan, er, stands as a member of the jury presiding over the trial of the Incredible Hulk.
2. X Men (2000)
Stan was among the hundreds of people who watched a presumed-missing Senator Kelly emerge completely naked from the shore at a local beach resort.
3. Spider-Man (2002)
Stan Lee is on hand to save a girl from a piece of falling balcony that would have landed right on top of her. Way to go, Stan! He’s a superhero, too!
4. Daredevil (2003)
There’s an irony when you get saved from being hit by a bus by a blind kid, as a young Matt does for Stan who’s too engrossed in the paper.
5. Hulk (2003)
Stan appears among the security staff attending the institute that Bruce Banner sneaks back to. He suggests beefing up security as a fugitive Bruce walks right past him.
6. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Stan saves the day by pulling a woman out of harm’s way from a falling building that Doc Ock rips out whilst fighting the Web-head.
7. Fantastic Four (2005)
At the door of the Baxter Building is Stan Lee with a large bundle of “the usual” undelivered mail intended for Reed’s penthouse-slash-laboratory.
8. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
As a young Jean Grey demonstrates her godlike power over matter, we take a look around the local neighborhood as gravity takes a vacation. Did you spot Stan Lee and his hose?
9. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
As Peter stares dreamy-eyed at a ticker line, Stan approaches and says “y’know, I guess one person can make a difference. Nuff said.” Wait, Stan, did you just acknowledge this about yourself? Sneaky.
10. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Appearing as himself at the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm, the creator of Marvel’s first family battles unsuccessfully with the bouncer, convinced that he’s surely on the list.
11. Iron Man (2008)
Tony crashes a party and gives an appreciated pat on the back to a man in a smoking jacket and a girl in each arm he thinks is the late Hugh Hefner. Turning around it turns out to be Stan.
12. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Stan gains the attention of the military when he takes a sip of a soda bottle from the plant Bruce was hiding in. It’s the very one that got stained with Bruce’s radioactive blood.
13. Iron Man 3 (2010)
During the opening of the Stark Expo, Tony enthusiastically greets a man he calls Larry King. He’s got big square glasses and a distinctive ivory haircut but it’s our man Stan.
14. Thor (2011)
Among the various attempts to pull Thor’s hammer from its place was Stan who after his attempt to pull the hammer out with his truck asked, “Did it work?” The hammer tore the bed off so no.
15. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
When Captain America is reluctant to emerge from behind a curtain, a Secret Service agent lets a ceremony’s speaker know. Army general Stan mistakes this agent for Steve, thinking he’d be taller.
16. Avengers Assemble (2012)
Among dozens of news reports on the battle of New York, Stan retorts “Superheroes in New York? Give me a break.” It’s a funny dismissal considering New York’s position in his comics is the epicentre of superhero activity.
17. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
With some hefty headphones, Stan is unaware of Peter and the Lizard battling it out behind him. He almost gets hit by a table were it not for Peter’s quick save.
18. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Stan rather enthusiastically gives a perfect ten to Miss Elk Ridge, a contestant at a Miss Tennessee competition that Tony infiltrates to find a transmitter.
19. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Stan is among the attendees of the elderly home Erik Selvig is stuck in. When Selvig concludes a lecture on the Convergence, Stan asks for his shoe back.
20. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Doing his rounds as a Smithsonian guard, Stan discovers that someone stole Captain America’s original combat uniform. He laments that he is almost certainly going to be fired for it.
21. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Stan Lee’s cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy is certainly one of the best. As Rocket examines the locals of a Xandarian city for a possible bounty, he spots Stan talking up a young woman. Rocket, of course, cracks a joke at Stan’s expense.
22. The Amazing Spider Man 2 (2014)
Out of hundreds of attendees, it’s only Stan who notices that Spider-Man is wearing a graduation gown. Actually it’s Peter, changing so quickly he forgot to take his mask off.
23. Big Hero 6 (2014)
It turns out that our man Stan is Fred’s absent father. As well as standing in paintings, Stan shows up to demonstrate like father, like son when it comes to wearing underwear.
24. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Stan takes more than he can handle when he sips on Thor’s Asgardian brew. The next thing we know, he’s being carried home muttering his iconic catchphrase, “Exelsior”.
25. Ant-Man (2016)
Stan operates the bar frequented by criminal accomplice, Ignacio. Stan apparently confirms that the girl sitting at one of the tables was “Crazy super fine.”
26. Deadpool (2016)
Here’s yet another moment of Stan as an eccentric old man. He announces acts at the strip club Deadpool visits whenever he’s not out being a superhero.
27. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
In yet another super-cool Civil War Easter Egg, Stan appears, this time as a FedEx mailman. He arrives at the Avengers Compound with a package for a man he reads as “Tony Stank.” Rhodey is certainly not going to let that one go.
28. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Stan Lee stands with his late wife among the millions who watch in horror as the world’s nuclear arsenal is launched into the sky.
29. Doctor Strange (2016)
Stan Lee’s cameo in Doctor Strange certainly made us chuckle. As Mordo and Strange battle Kaecillius, they fail to disturb Stan on a bus as he reads The Doors of Perception – Aldus Huxley’s account of his experiences with mescaline.
30. Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 (2017)
On a distant moon, Stan recalls all his cameos to the Watchers, the big-headed aliens who live to observe things. Apparently he manages to even bore them as they leave him behind. See more of the funniest Guardians of the Galaxy Easter Eggs in our recent post!
31. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Did you spot this Homecoming hidden reference? When Spider-Man disturbs an entire neighborhood after mistaking a guy for a car thief, Stan emerges from a window telling him “don’t make me come down there” then chats up his neighbor.
32. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Ragnarok was filled with endless Easter Eggs and secret nods but this was probably one of our favorites! Preparing Thor for the arena, Stan appears as an insane hair stylist. When Thor protests, Stan’s prosthetic arm unfolds various deadly cutting tools. It’s best not to argue, Thor.
Stan has been everywhere, taken the role of all sorts of characters, and done all things at all sorts of places. Did we miss one? Which of his many cameos was your greatest Stan Lee appearance? Let us know in the comments…
Fun fact! Did you know that Marvel pays homage to Star Wars with ever-so-subtle Easter Eggs? Have a look at these Marvel films that feature nods to the Star Wars franchise.