Fans were shocked and saddened to hear that Marvel’s iconic Stan Lee passed away earlier this week at the age of 95. The driving force behind many of the most beloved superheroes from the Marvel universe and one of the reasons we can’t wait to see the next Marvel flick, Lee will also be forever remembered for his many cameos in various Marvel films and TV series. Thankfully for fans used to looking everywhere for Lee’s appearances in each of the MCU movies, it looks like he has already shot his scenes in time for Avengers 4, which premieres in early May.
Lee may not see what will probably go down as the highest-grossing superhero movie ever, but Avengers 4 will contain a Lee cameo. And considering that Captain Marvel finished shooting long ago ahead of its debut in early March, it’s very likely Lee will make an appearance in that film as well.
Lee isn’t credited for either title on IMDB as of this writing, but Marvel co-director Joe Russo hinted in an interview with BBC back in April (via The Huffington Post) that Lee would have a cameo in Marvel’s new films.
“Typically we try to get him out — he doesn’t love to fly — so we try to get him out for his cameos around the same time,” Russo revealed. “So if we have other movies shooting on the same lot that we’re on, for instance, Ant-Man 2 or Avengers 4, we group his cameos together and then move him from one set to the next and kind of get him through his cameos in one day.”
Lee doesn’t have a recurring role in the MCU universe. He has played various unimportant characters over the years, and none of them of any significance to the storyline of each film, aside from some quick comic relief. And come to think of it, many of Lee’s characters must have been snapped to ashes at the end of Infinity War.
Even though Lee may indeed delight us with a couple of cameos next year, the sad fact remains that he’ll never get to see the culmination of 10 years of Marvel stories arrive in theaters. That would of course be Avengers 4, which is set to premiere in less than six months and mark the end of this chapter of the MCU.
With that in mind, here are all the Stan Lee cameos to date, and I’m sure you’ll recognize many of them:
A few weeks ago, we showed you the leaked retail box of an alleged Avengers 4 toy that seemed to confirm there’s going to be time traveling in the Infinity War, via the Quantum Realm. In that image, we had Rocket and Thor wearing matching suits that resembled the outfit that Dr. Pym wore in Ant-Man and The Wasp to travel to the Quantum Realm. Now, we have a new set of similar images that popped up on Reddit, and they have set the internet ablaze.
In the following images, we have Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Rocket, Nebula, Hulk, and Black Widow, all sporting Quantum Realm attire.
The Thor and Rocket renders are similar to the ones used on that leaked toy art — here it is once again:
But most of the other images look like crude Photoshops meant to demo a concept rather than be used on marketing materials, and it’s perfectly okay to question their authenticity. Someone working for Marvel may have created these concepts at some point for internal use only during the planning stages of the film. It’s also entirely possible that all this leaked Avengers 4 art is the work of a die-hard fan who has nothing to do with the actual production.
But forget the controversy for a second and let’s remember what matters. We do expect the Quantum Realm to be used for time travel in Avengers 4, and we have seen plenty of evidence to support that idea. Time travel sure looks like the reason why Ant-Man is currently stuck in the realm. That’s probably how Doctor Strange planned it all.
And because both Ant-Man and Dr. Pym needed suits, it’s certainly possible that all the other Avengers will wear similar protective gear so they’ll be able to shrink down to the subatomic level and visit that Quantum Real universe that we’re yet to fully explore.
One problem with these suits is that not all heroes have headgear, which seems to be needed when going down there. Pym and Ant-man have helmets in the movies. On the other hand, the audience still needs to see the faces of all these heroes so this could be done deliberately. Of course, that’s assuming that the concept art above is real.
If there’s one thing you should expect from the Russo brothers, who directed a few of the best Marvel movies so far including Civil War and Infinity War, it’s that they won’t really reveal anything about an upcoming film. This is especially true when that movie is the highly anticipated — and still untitled — Avengers 4 flick. They will, however, troll fans every chance they get, and they just did it again.
A few weeks ago, the Russos shared a picture on social media along with a cryptic message that was enough for Avengers fans to start digging for clues for the Avengers 4 title.
Then on Thursday they pulled a similar trick during an ask-me-anything streaming session over on Instagram. The purpose of the AMA was to answer some questions about Avengers 4, but then they decided to use it as an opportunity to troll us yet again. It was Joe Russo manning the post, iO9 explains, and the director said the film’s current duration is about three hours, although the film is still in post-production.
Avengers 4 has more than 3,000 digital effects, and some of them still need to be completed. Meanwhile, Alan Silvestri is composing the score for the next Avengers picture. Joe also said that Avengers 4 has the highest stakes of any Marvel movie yet, as though that really needed to be said.
But guess what happened when questions about the film’s title started to pile in? Joe was just about to answer when he got disconnected. That’s epic trolling from everyone involved in marketing the movie, and it’s exactly what we’d expect from an “AMA” session with the directors of the film that will probably shatter every imaginable record come next May.
So far, Avengers: Annihilation is the rumored title for the film. As for the first trailer, we expect it to drop later this month although nothing is official on that front either.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen increasing evidence that the Quantum Realm will play a significant role in undoing the Infinity War deaths in the upcoming Avengers 4 movie. Michael Douglas talked about the importance of the Realm and the director of Ant-Man and The Wasp gave us even more details about what’s hidden inside the Quantum Realm. Now we have Marvel’s top boss Kevin Feige going on the record about the massive importance of that particular universe.
It’s widely expected that Ant-Man will use the Quantum Realm to travel through time, and that other Avengers may do the same, given that the main time-traveling tool, the Time Stone, isn’t available. But Feige’s newly discovered comments — even if they don’t mention anything about the next Avengers film — seem to confirm the importance of the Realm for the upcoming MCU movies, Avengers 4 included. After all, Marvel must have planted that Quantum Realm scene in Ant-Man 2 for a reason that relates to Avengers 4.
Feige’s remarks come from an interview published in a collector’s edition hardcover book celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the MCU, via ComicBook:
At the end of Ant-Man we followed Scott Lang into the Quantum Realm for the first time. We were beginning to peel back the onion that would later be completely peeled back in Doctor Strange as we go into the multiverse. So that was our little test into that.
But now the Quantum Realm is a whole other territory that we can play with to tell our stories. This Quantum Realm is much larger than we ever imagined, and there are all sorts of adventures to be had at that level, which perhaps we will explore in another film.
We know from Ant-Man 2 that there are time vortexes in the Quantum Realm that Scott Lang needs to be aware of. We also know from the deleted scenes of the movie that there are smart creatures in there, which Janet van Dyne could interact with. The director of the film, Peyton Reed, also revealed there’s a whole city teased in Ant-Man 2. So yes, everything that Feige said about the Realm has been hinted at before. There’s even a fan theory that says the souls of the dead go to the Quantum Realm, with some arguing that’s precisely what happened with the victims of the snap. But Feige talking about the Quantum Realm’s importance for the MCU is a clear sign that we’ll see Realm action in Avengers 4.
If you happen to get your hands on the Infinity War concept art book now that you’ve seen the movie, you’ll notice a different ending compared to what Marvel ended up going with. Interestingly, however, this alternative ending might actually foreshadow certain events from the upcoming Avengers 4 film.
As you can see in the image below, the concept art shows you what looks like the final confrontation between the Avengers and Thanos.
The scene ends with Thor’s brand new weapon smashing the titan’s chest, but that’s not the detail we care about. In these images, we see Hulk, a hero who had performance issues for much of Infinity War. Hulk is holding one of Thanos’ arms, while Captain America is holding the other, just as Thor tries to kill him. That’s not to say Thanos would have lost the fight with Hulk in the picture. It just that the concept art shows a fight that looks a lot like what we saw on Titan, but with Hulk in it.
Ultimately, I think the final Infinity War battle is a lot better than the one in the art book above, precisely because there’s no Hulk in it. After the beating he received early in Infinity War, Hulk refused to show up for the Wakanda battle, making the internal Hulk vs. Bruce Banner conflict something to look forward to in Avengers 4. We might finally see Banner tame the beast for the first time in more than 20 films, and it would be a massive advantage for the Avengers.
What’s interesting about the concept art above is that Hulk appeared in Wakanda battle scenes during the various Infinity War trailers that Marvel released ahead of the premiere. We later learned that was all misdirection.
Is the concept art also supposed to be misdirection? Or is it foreshadowing a fight we also expect in Avengers 4? Hulk may have been defeated in round one, but he probably wants to have another go at Thanos, especially if he and Banner can finally figure out a way to work together.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about alternate endings for Infinity War. Marvel execs toyed with the idea of having Thanos snap his fingers at the beginning of Avengers 4, which would have totally ruined the Infinity War climax.
The Infinity War concept art is already out, while Avengers 4 is set to hit theaters in early May next year.