Long before he played one of his now famous cameos in a Marvel movie, Stan Lee appeared as himself in a movie about a bunch of slackers who killed time in suburbia. Mallrats was Kevin Smith's second film after the breakout success of Clerksand for his successor, Smith traded deep nigery Star Wars for deeper nerdery about comics. In 1995, the year of Mallrats& # 39; release, seeing Lee appear in a Smith movie was the perfect Venn diagram overlap of grunge proto-hipster and comics fan culture.
The one who came up with Lee's cameo Captain Marvel, one of the dozens that he has made over the years, knows this. (Hell, Lee & # 39; s appearance in Mallrats Maybe that was what gave comics fans a love for his cameo to start with.) The way he appears on the screen in his spotlight moment was clearly designed as an Easter egg for both Marvel and Mallrats fans.
It is coming – and I will say this once so that from now on it will be known: spoiler alert– as Captain Marvel of Brie Larson is driving through a Metro train in Los Angeles, looking for a Skrull shapewash that presumably has taken the form of an ignorant human spectator. (You've seen this in the trailers: it's the moment when good ol & Marv hits an elderly woman in the face.) As she searches the crowd, she meets a man with his face hidden behind a film script with a red cover that reads Mallrats. "Trust me, true believer," he mumbles, working on the intonation. The line is of course Lee & # 39; s from the film and the man says it's Stan.
Lee, who died at the age of 95 last year, probably liked this. As writer Jim McLauchlin noted in his Lee commemoration for WIRED, Lee enjoyed his cameos and made a play to get one in 2003 barge film, eight years after it appeared Mallrats. Lee appeared in almost every movie or TV show related to a Marvel property over the years, and he was always a game. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has merged into its current form, those cameos have become tradition – the only thing besides a post-scene scene that fans watch at every show.
What is surprising about the Captain Marvel appearance – beyond the self-referential in-joke – is that Lee is essentially playing himself. More often than not, Lee would play Thirsty Gambler (Black Panther) or Strip Club DJ (Deadpool) or FedEx driver (Captain America: Civil War). Allowing him to play, doing what he would have done in real life at the time, is a bit of a fourth-wall break that is rare for a Lee cameo, let alone a Marvel movie.
Let's make a backup. would that's what Lee did during the movie's time frame? Probably, but probably not. Captain Marvel, if the context instructions are to be read correctly, probably the end of 1995 will take place. There are ads around for 311 & # 39; s untitled album, which was released in June of that year, and Smashing Pumpkins & # 39; Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which came out in October. The Blockbuster that Carol Danvers bumps into is prominently displayed True lies Standee, which would make sense – that movie came out in July 1994 and would probably have hit the home video market in the early & # 39; 95. Do you know what else came out in 1995? Mallrats. The timing is almost perfect, except that if the movie was released in October of that year, Lee would have practiced his cameo a few months earlier and filmed his cameo (it was shot in March and April of that year) Danvers landed in LA . Whatever. It is still cool.
Cool, and maybe Lee & # 39; s last cameo in a Marvel movie. Avengers: end game is coming out next month, and it is conceivable that he filmed a cameo before his death in November last year, but so far no such appearance has been mentioned on his IMDB page. (Marvel boss Kevin Feige has suggested that one might be reserved.) Captain Marvel deleted the assembly of MCU superheroes who usually play when the Marvel logo appears during the opening credits with a montage by Lee. Maybe this tribute will play on all MCU films this year, or maybe it has been added in honor of the last appearance that Lee will make in a film based on one of the dozens of heroes he has made. In a sense, it would be nice if his last cameo echoed what many think his best cameo of all. It would enable the tradition to go out like Stan Lee always did – with style.
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