Over the years, Marvel superhero movies have set a standard of expectations for audiences. There is, of course, their blend of action and humor that’s come to encapsulate the brand, but there are also smaller additions which fans are often irate if not included. These necessary extras can be the now common mid- and post-credit scenes, but their most popular is definitely Stan Lee’s requisite cameo. The comic book legend has made an appearance in over 20 Marvel films, and not all necessarily from Marvel Studios as he’s had cameos in several X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man films.
Lee’s cameos are always a humorous highlight and it was no different in this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Rather early on the in the film Lee can be seen hitting on a much younger Xandarian woman – something Rocket comments on as being part of what’s wrong with the planet’s society. Guardians director James Gunn, however, has now revealed that originally a different sort of Stan Lee cameo was intended to occur much later on in the film.
On his Instagram account, Gunn shared the below photo of a Stan Lee double sitting in one of The Collector’s cubes, along with this explanation of how the scene would have originally played out:
In the original cut of the film, when the Guardians enter the Collector’s museum, Rocket looks over and sees Cosmo the dog in one display case, Quill looks over into another display case and is surprised by a tentacle slapping against the glass, and Groot looks over and sees, in another display case, Stan Lee. In one take, Stan Lee just slowly turns up his finger, flipping off Groot.
Lee was unable to film his cameo on the Guardians set in the UK, which is why a double was used – with the idea being for Lee to film his scene back in the States and have his head digitally inserted over the double’s. However, Gunn later chose to cut the scene all together, saying “the flipping off joke was too similar to the moment earlier in the film where Quill flips off the Nova Corps, so I excised that part of it immediately.”
Cutting the scene for redundancy is perfectly understandable, but so would hesitating at having someone as beloved by children as Lee seen flipping the bird, no matter how funny older fans may have found the scene. (What concerned parents made of Lee hitting on a much younger woman remains another story.) That said, Gunn has made it clear that the scene getting cut had nothing to do with Disney deeming it inappropriate, asserting “no one at Disney ever even saw the scene, and it was cut solely for creative reasons.”
Still, Gunn found plenty of other ways to wink and nod at fans with all the easter eggs he included in Guardians, even featuring a most unexpected surprise cameo in the film’s post-credit scene.
Would you have preferred for Stan Lee’s cameo to appear as originally planned or was what was included a better choice? Sound off in the comments below!
Guardians of the Galaxy is now in theaters.