Earlier today, Marvel signed a deal with POW! Entertainment and Genius Brands to bring back the late Stan Lee for cameos using CGI. The deal is reportedly for 20 years to use the legendary comic-book writer for future cameos in movies and shows. While the news has surely left a few fans excited to have Stan Lee for some memorable cameos, most fans have expressed their disgust against Marvel for this move.
Stan ‘The Man’ Lee is unarguably one of the greatest comic-book writers to have graced the industry alongside Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. Credited for creating Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Scarlet Witch, and many more iconic characters, Stan Lee became a champion of comic book fans. Having firmly believed that comic-book characters have the potential to take the big screen by storm, the late writer soon became a part of all Marvel movies, including Fox’s X-Men saga.
Related: Disney To Sue Stan Lee’s Family To Keep Avengers Characters
Despite living a long and prosperous life, Stan Lee was subjected to elderly abuse during his last years. Shockingly, his blood was even stolen by his business associates which was later used to sign Black Panther comics. In 2018, the legendary comic-book writer breathed his last, at the ripe age of 95.
Why Bringing Back Stan Lee Using CGI is Appalling?
Hollywood and its usage of CGI to bring back dead actors/celebrities is nothing new. Though the technology to digitally render dead actors has come a long way, its moral and ethical integrity has always been questioned. Lucasfilms’ decision to not bring back Carrie Fisher using CGI was lauded by many fans as the studio clearly mentioned that it won’t be the right way to honor her legacy. However, Marvel doesn’t seem to have any issue with bringing back the late Stan Lee, at least for now.
Related: Iconic Comic Book Creators From DC & Marvel Who Deserve Just As Much Recognition As Stan Lee
Additionally, POW! Entertainment was sued by Stan Lee for being associated with using the writer’s blood without his consent. Though Lee had dropped the lawsuit after two months, Marvel signing a deal with POW! Entertainment doesn’t exactly seem ethical.
According to VFX artist Craig Hammack, the ethical question of bringing back dead celebrities using technology lies in the way they are handled. If represented irresponsibly, the legacy of the person can be tainted even after their death, and without their real consent.
“It is something that we’re all aware of. Because the possibilities are coming and our hope is that it doesn’t happen in an irresponsible way. Personally, I don’t want to see something that’s not the performance of the person represented as the person.“
While it’s not yet confirmed whether Marvel will use Stan Lee for future cameos, the deal has confirmed that the late writer will be used for merchandising, advertising, as well as in VR and theme parks. As a result, many fans blasted the decision on Twitter.
Marvel paying more money for Stan Lee’s image than what they pay their creators has been a thing since the 60s so can’t say I’m surprised https://t.co/dj43onS5hR
— Fiti Vidal (@levidu99) May 18, 2022
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.
— Adam Lance Garcia (@AdamLanceGarcia) May 18, 2022
I miss Stan Lee as much as the next guy, but can’t we just let him rest? https://t.co/GbWuWe5MSb
— Logan ???????? (@DiamondSpiderP) May 18, 2022
if disney really feels the need to put in stan lee cameos in shit, instead of doing a CG abomination just have pictures of him appear in the background like in let there be carnage and deadpool 2 https://t.co/fd6slLjZLt pic.twitter.com/bFHu8h3UWC
— PT: psycho tman (@johnny_tmanV2) May 18, 2022
Earlier in 2020 when Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman lost his battle with cancer, Marvel Studios had confirmed that they won’t digitally bring back the late actor to honor and respect his legacy. However, Marvel’s new deal with Genius Brand and POW! Entertainment seems that they might have backtracked on its statement.
Related: Dark Truths About Stan Lee That Make Us Think ‘Was He Really A Visionary?’
If Marvel really wants to honor Stan Lee’s legacy, the solution has always been simple from the start: make good movies using his characters. As a champion of truth and equality, the best way to remember the legendary comic-book writer is to ensure that his messages are passed on to the next generation through spectacular movies. Apart from that, Marvel can always start giving proper credits and compensation to every comic book artist and writer for using their stories and characters for movies and shows.