Disney and Marvel Own Rights to Stan Lee’s Likeness for 20 Years, New Deal Says

in Marvel, Movies & TV

stan lee

Credit: Marvel

Marvel Comics Legend Stan Lee passed away in 2018 at 95. He helped create the Marvel universe fans know and love and famously cameoed in every Marvel film from Iron Man (2008) through Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Both Avengers films were shot before his passing.

Stan Lee, Captain America, Civil War
Stan Lee’s Cameo in “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Disney Officially Dedicates Avengers Campus to Stan Lee

After Avengers: Endgame (2019), it seemed the late Stan Lee would never appear in another Marvel Cinematic Universe film.

Stan Lee
Credit: Esquire

Now, that may change. Today, Disney and Marvel have come to a deal with Stan Lee Universe, a business venture between Genius Brands International and POW! Entertainment,  to license Lee’s name and likeness for the next 20 years.

Related: Guests React to Moon Knight’s Disney Park Debut, Demand More ‘Star Wars’ Characters

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the agreement states Lee’s likeness is licensed “for use in future feature films and television productions, as well as Disney theme parks, various “experiences” and merchandizing.”

stan lee doctor strange cameo
Stan Lee’s Cameo in “Doctor Strange” (2016), Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Disney Erases Stan Lee’s Marvel Legacy

From The Hollywood Reporter

“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 Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands. “It’s a broad deal.”

stan lee thor ragnarok
Stan Lee’s Cameo in “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017), Credit: Marvel Studios

This means Stan Lee could return to Marvel films, Disney merchandise, and the Disney Parks. Given Disney’s use of deep fake and holographic technology in the Star Wars franchise to bring characters like Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) back to life after their actors’ passings, it’s not far off to assume Stan Lee will make his return to the MCU.

Related: D23 EXPO 2017: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby honored as Disney Legends in ceremony for fans

Fan reaction to this news is split. Some fans feel this only further exploits Stan Lee postmortem. User @addict_brain on Twitter writes:

in case you didn’t know, the final years of Stan Lee’s life were miserable because everyone around him (including his daughter) was exploiting him for money. this included stealing his blood to sign comics. not even death is enough to escape apparently.

Others feel Disney and Marvel should spend their money on creators rather than purchasing the rights to Lee’s likeness and name. Twitter user @AdamLanceGarcia writes:

Marvel Studios has paid more for the use of Stan Lee’s likeness than they have to any of the creators of the stories they’ve mined to become a billion dollar franchise and that should bother you.

Others don’t like the idea of holographic and deep fake cameos. Twitter user @AlanSarapa calls it “ghoulish:”

I just find the idea of CGI deepfake Stan Lee popping up in MCU films to be ghoulish.

Of course, many Marvel fans are excited about the opportunity to see Stan Lee in films again. @nfdndNFT on Twitter writes:

While it’s gratifying to even hear Stan Lee ‘s name again, it’s exciting to think we’ll be able to see his face somehow.

Disney and Marvel haven’t released any specific plans to use Stan Lee’s likeness, but Inside the Magic will report on any news relating to the late Lee.

stan lee cameo
Stan Lee’s cameo in “Captain America: Winter Soldier” (2014), Credit: Marvel Studios

Are you excited about Disney’s acquisition of Stan Lee’s name and likeness, or would you prefer they focus on other projects instead? Let us know in the comments. 


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