Stan Lee’s passing has prompted scores of tributes from fans and celebrities via social media. One of the most poignant tributes comes from Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios’ president and the architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Feige shared some brief thoughts on Twitter when news of Lee’s death broke earlier this morning. However, the producer has shared more insight in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Feige expressed his belief that the always-exuberant Lee would “live forever.” He also shared more memories of Lee that date back almost two decades.
Feige’s first professional encounter with Lee came in 2000, when the public’s interest in superhero films was about to be reignited by the arrival of the first X-Men movie. At the time, Feige was a 26-year-old associate producer on the film. But he was also a fan, so he was taken aback when the legendary Marvel creator graced him with a voicemail. “The light on the phone was blinking and I checked the message,” Feige remembered. “‘Fearless, Feige!’ [Lee] said. ‘Fearless Feige, this is Stan Lee.’ It was just a voicemail, he just needed something. But I was, ‘I think Stan Lee gave me a nickname.’ It was amazing.”
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Feige finally got the chance to meet the man himself when Lee visited the X-Men set to film his cameo as a hot dog vendor. He went on to explain that the majority of his interactions with Lee were based around his cameos in other Marvel films. Feige described each of those experiences as a “holiday on set. That’s how much he inspired people. Whether it was the beginning of the shoot, the middle, the end, the energy would skyrocket when he came on the set. Those are my strongest memories. And as much as we and the audience love the cameos, Stan loved and was so proud of every one.”
As for how Lee’s presence will be felt in any future Marvel productions, Feige is taking a page out of The Man’s playbook. “One of the many things I learned from Stan was that everyone likes a surprise,” he said. “We’ll think about an appropriate way [to honor him], but even in the 18 years I’ve been at Marvel, the appropriate way is to do justice to the amazing characters and stories that he created. And we’ll continue to do that.”
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