More than three years after his passing, Stan Lee could be on his way back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Marvel Studios has inked a new licensing agreement with Stan Lee Universe that covers the next 20 years. In theory, the studio will be able to use Stan Lee’s likeness and name not just in new film and television productions, but in other forms of media as well.
Stan Lee Universe began as a joint venture between Genius Brands and Lee’s POW! Entertainment banner in 2020. The company maintains the rights to all of Lee’s non-Marvel creations. But under the terms of this new deal, images of the legendary creator can now show up in a variety of Marvel projects, as can existing footage and audio recordings. His likeness could also appear on merchandise sold via theme parks and cruise ships, including toys, apparel, and stationary. Video games and VR experiences featuring his smiling face? Possible too.
“It really ensures that Stan, through digital technology and archival footage and other forms, will live in the most important venue, the Marvel movies, and Disney theme parks,” said Genius Brands chairman and CEO Andy Heyward in a new statement.
Lee’s ubiquitous cameo appearances had long been a staple of live-action Marvel movies before his death in 2018. The following summer, Lee made his final live-action cameo appearance in Avengers: Endgame. This deal could conceivably “digitally resurrect” him for similar walk-on roles à la Peter Cushing in Rogue One. But that doesn’t mean they necessarily will. Marvel’s mindful that fans might object.
“The audience revered Stan and if it’s done with taste and class, and respectful of who he was, it will be welcomed,” added Heyward. “He is a beloved personality and long after you and I are gone, he will remain the essence of Marvel.”
What do you make of this latest endeavor between Marvel and Lee’s company? Where would you like to see Lee’s likeness show up next? Let us know in the comments down below!
Recommended Reading: A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee
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