Filmed in part in front of a live audience at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York City, ABC News will present the special, Celebrating Marvel’s Stan Lee this Friday night and although there will be appearances by many people associated with Lee and his films, most of The Avengers appear to have been left off the guest list.
During the special, stars Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Saquon Barkley, Mark Hamill, Jimmy Kimmel, Method Man, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Lauren Ridloff, Kevin Smith, Deborah Ann Woll, Joe Quesada, Seth Green, Bob Iger, CB Cebulski, Todd McFarlane, Kevin Feige, Gerry Conway and more share their memories of Lee. Strangely absent from that list include Robert Downey jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth…etc. Of course, there was a lot more to Lee than the big blockbusters films inspired by his comic book creations, but still, you would like that more of them would be featured. Then again, the special is part documentary where many of them will be shown.
According to ABC, “Celebrating Marvel’s Stan Lee takes viewers on an action-packed journey throughout the life of Lee and across the Marvel Universe, sharing never-before-seen interviews and archive footage with Lee himself from deep within the Marvel and ABC News archives.”
Lee was one of the most prolific and legendary comic creators of all time. In his more-than-seven decades in the industry, Lee dreamed up an endless number of new characters and worlds, and brought readers an all-star roster of heroes and villains. As the co-creator of many of Marvel’s iconic comic book characters, including Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, The X-Men and Black Panther, Lee is credited with making an unprecedented impact on the world of pop culture. He was a visionary and true pioneer whose work lives on in everything from blockbuster films, television series and comic books to video games and consumer products.
Known for his vivid and engaging prose, Lee gave his heroes real-world problems and realistic human failings. Besides saving the world, they had to face everyday concerns such as dating or paying the rent, and Lee never shied away from social commentary on relevant issues such as race or substance abuse. He also broke ground in giving credit to comic creators, and filled every issue of his titles with chatty responses to fan letters. After years as Marvel’s editor-in-chief, Lee became Marvel’s editorial director and publisher in 1972, and eventually was named chairman emeritus.
In addition to his publishing successes, Lee also appeared in some of the most popular films of all time. His well-known cameos in Marvel films began with 1989’s telefilm The Trial of the Incredible Hulk; and since the release of X-Men in 2000, he has appeared in nearly every Marvel production, including 22 Marvel Studios’ films. Lee also appeared in many television series, including Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s Agent Carter and Marvel’s Daredevil, Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man and even as a LEGO version of himself in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. Outside the Super Hero realm, he even pops up as a wedding guest in Disney’s The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and portrayed a version of himself in the indie classic Mallrats.
“As a young man, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee always dreamed of writing, going on to create some of the greatest heroes of our modern times,” said Joe Quesada, executive vice president, creative director of Marvel Entertainment. “Stan showed each of us how to be a hero in our everyday lives, and the stories he wrote will go on to influence generations of fans for decades to come. We can’t wait for all you True Believers out there to see this special to honor and celebrate Stan’s incredible life and all the lives he has touched.”
Celebrating Marvel’s Stan Lee will air on Friday, December 20 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.