The long-standing tradition of Stan Lee appearing in every Marvel Comics film, television show and video game has come to an end – “The Simpsons” showrunner, Al Jean, says Marvel prevented them from adding a cameo appearance of the comic book legend in their new animated short, “The Good, the Bart, and the Loki.”
In the short, Tom Hiddleston, as Loki, makes his debut appearance in “The Simpsons” universe for a cartoon that makes an array of allusions to other MCU prominent characters. But there is no sign of Lee.
Jean told ComicBook.com that he and his team considered inserting a tribute to Lee upon discovering unused audio files of the creative genius from a prior engagement with the show.
“It wasn’t a joke,” Jean said. “We just thought, ‘Oh, we have Stan Lee audio from when he was on our show. Could we cameo him in?’”
However, Marvel summarily nixed the plan due to a new policy they have established concerning the beloved author.
“They said that their policy is he doesn’t cameo now that he’s passed away. Which is a completely understandable policy,” Jean explained. “That was their only note and that was, of course, easily done.”
Lee’s always brief but nonetheless significant appearances were not only a special treat from the franchise’s creator, but later a testament to his enduring spirit and influence. Before his death on Nov. 12, 2018, Lee had appeared in each installment of the franchise from “Iron Man” (2008) to “Avengers: Endgame” (2019).
“Stan Lee is not replaceable. So we will never try,” Marvel Studios’ Executive Vice President of Production Victoria Alonso told Miami Latin News. “That is the legend, the man, we will never try to replace him. Other people will come around, and then you have someone as phenomenally creative as [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige, but there’s only one Stan Lee.”
Feige added, “Stan was incredibly proud of the MCU cameos. I would remind him that he also co-created all these characters and he’d sort of brush that off and go, ‘Yes, but these cameos.’ I remember one time he was going to shoot soon after lunch and just before lunch I look around, and the crew’s not there, and I realized they’ve all gone down to the comic shop to buy comics for Stan to sign. And if you’ve met Stan you know that, of course, he stayed there and he signed every one and he talked to each member of the crew.”
“He was infused with humanity and kindness,” Feige continued. “He put that into every creation he had, which is why they all still resonate today and will resonate, I believe, for centuries to come.”
A February installment of “WandaVision” including a heartwarming homage to the comic book icon in a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” Stan Lee Easter egg obscured within the title sequence of Episode 7, “Breaking the Fourth Wall.”
Marvel did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.