Cameos by Marvel Comics luminary Stan Lee are a near-indispensable part of every Marvel movie, an ongoing in-joke that pays tribute to the modern mythology master. Some Marvel fans, though, have posited that there's another motive beyond Lee's recurring appearances, but Stan the Man put those rumors to rest in a recent appearance.
Stan Lee has shown up in every Marvel flick since Iron Man, typically popping up on screen for a couple of seconds in a nod to the fact that Lee's imagination is responsible for all of the magic we see on screen. One persistent rumor, though, holds that Lee's cameos aren't just throwaway nods to his creative genius. They are, according to this theory, evidence that Lee is in fact playing one of the more persistent and powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, Uatu the Watcher.
The Watcher first appeared in 1963's Fantastic Four #13, and he was portrayed as a member of an ancient extraterrestrial species that, well, watches. Everything. The usually silent Watcher observes events on Earth, and he's not supposed to interfere in the matters of mere mortals. Whenever some massive cosmic event is in the offing – say, Galactus is about to eat the Earth again or Wolverine is about to embark on an adventure that will end in his death – the Watcher is there, silently observing — and often interfering, in violation of his oath.
Now, Stan Lee isn't exactly silent in his Marvel cameos, but he does tend to be present for some pretty momentous events. That has led some Marvel lovers to posit that Lee isn't just a harmless bystander, but instead a clever nod to Uatu.
Lee, though, put such rumors to rest when he appeared at the Alamo City Comic Con. In a video of Lee's appearance there, Stan the Man was asked directly whether or not his cameos were a nod to Uatu. (h/t: ComicBook.com)
"No, I'm afraid I don't have any super power and I'm not extraterrestrial," Lee said. "Though, I'll admit I'm a wonderful human being, but I'm really just a little more wonderful than most."
So Stan Lee isn't the Watcher. Alas and alack. Marvel fans can at least look forward to seeing Stan in action in next summer's Avengers: Age of Ultron and, according to Lee, in Avengers 3 as well.
"I will tell you," Lee said, "speaking of Avengers 3, I have a cameo in that movie, which is the funniest cameo I have done yet. I cannot tell you what it is or they would shoot me, but you must not miss it, because it gives me a chance to show my acting chops."
Lee might have been speaking of Age of Ultron there, as Avengers 3 probably hasn't even begun shooting. Age of Ultron, the second Avengers movie, won't hit theaters until next summer, and Avengers 3 isn't expected for some time after that. It's not too hard to imagine, though, that Lee will make an appearance in Avengers 3 — or maybe even two cameos if the film is split into two parts as recent whispers suggest.
[Lead image via Movie Pilot]