Although Robert Downey Jr. has appeared in a lot of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, true believers know that he’s not the person with the most credits in the franchise. That honor goes to the creator of many of the characters in question, Stan Lee.
Even before Marvel Studios was a thing, with movies being made under the banner of production companies like 20th Century Fox and Sony, the comics legend, now 93, appeared in each movie, with the exception of a few “X-Men” films. However, when it comes to the MCU, his track record is flawless, with even a few winks to him in the franchise’s TV properties. Now we know that streak will continue in the highly anticipated team-up film “Captain America: Civil War.”
Speaking to Sydney, Australia’s Nova 96.9, the film’s co-director, Joe Russo, addressed how he approached the cameo in the coming movie. After so many appearances it gets more and more difficult for MCU directors to artfully work the Marvel master's appearance into their movies. But Russo acknowledged that it’s necessary as fans have come to expect and enjoy the perfunctory Easter egg.
“We work through the script, we look for a great cameo for Stan as we’re writing, you know, and that’s our interaction with Stan,” he says in the video below. “You’re always looking to keep it different with him and you want to surprise the audience, because they get a kick out of it, but you also want to make it relevant in some way, so he delivers a key piece of information in the movie.”
It’s refreshing to see that, even at his venerable age, the comic book creator still takes his involvement in these movies very seriously. In 2013, Lee issued a video apology after promising that his cameo in “Iron Man 3” would be the funniest yet. But when the film was released, he learned that they had to cut his cameo down to a quick glimpse. Now, according to the “Civil War” directors, he’ll provide a more vital role than ever that may even go as far as to move the plot forward.
Sadly, fans will just have to wait until “Captain America: Civil War” hits theaters next week to find out. In the meantime, they can watch all of Lee’s cameos to date here and check out Russo’s full interview below.