Who did Stan Lee almost play in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3?
Per The Direct, writer/director James Gunn revealed in the audio commentary to the MCU threequel that during the writing phase, he had plans to give the Marvel Comics icon a voiceover role as Lambshank, an experimental creature imprisoned by the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji). “I originally wrote Lambshank, the character that I played, for Stan Lee because I wrote the movie before Stan passed on,” Gunn said.
Gunn previously had Lee make live-action cameos as a “Xandarian Ladies’ Man” in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and “Watcher Informant” in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Additionally, Gunn oversaw the filming of Lee’s cameos during Phase 3 of the MCU as his health began to decline. Initially, Gunn wrote Lambshank for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 with Lee in mind when he completed his first draft in 2018. Travel concerns in addition to Lee’s age were factors in Gunn’s decision to make his cameo a voiceover instead of reprising one of his previous MCU roles.
“I knew he was also getting much older and it’d be harder to bring him to Atlanta to shoot, so I did a character that I could just animate and then have him do the voice and have a little Stan Lee-like face on that character,” Gunn said. “But unfortunately, Stan passed, who I really enjoyed working with and directing so many times through these movies.”
Disney fired Gunn that July over controversial tweets that resurfaced on social media. Lee passed away from cardiac arrest in November 2018. After Gunn was rehired for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 in 2019, the director decided to voice Lambshank himself. As a tribute to Lee, Gunn had the character’s face designed to resemble his.