Prior to his death in 2018, Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee appeared in many Marvel movies, from The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) and X-Men (2000) to Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and many, many more.
In 2018, Stan popped up in the animated movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. His cameo was perfectly placed and he helped to deliver an important message within the movie.
Stan Lee’s cameo in Into the Spider-Verse
In Into the Spider-Verse, Stan Lee appears in the role of a store owner. Stan owns a shop called Stan’s Collectibles which sells costumes, including a faux Spider-Man outfit.
In the movie, Stan appears shortly after Spider-Man is killed by the Kingpin. In the wake of Spidey’s death, New York City is in mourning and a public memorial is being held.
Miles Morales, the lead character of Into the Spider-Verse decides to attend the memorial, but wants to go dressed in a Spider-Man costume, so he goes to Stan’s store to pick up an outfit. Upon pulling the outfit off the rack, Miles takes it to the counter where Stan Lee is stood ready to serve.
As Miles hands over the costume, Stan makes a comment about Spider-Man’s death, saying: “I’m going to miss him.”
Miles agrees, to which Stan says: “We were friends, you know.”
Miles then asks Stan if he can bring the costume back if it doesn’t fit, to which Stan replies: “It always fits – eventually.”
As the shot pans to the side, a sign can be seen behind Stan which reads: ‘No returns or refunds ever!’
The scene is played for laughs, but it delivers an important message which fits in with the theme of the movie – that anyone can be Spider-Man. Stan’s words that “it always fits” is a comment that the costume will always fit the hero – even if it takes a while for the hero to be ready for the costume.
Some additional meaning can also be found in one of Stan’s line: “I’m going to miss him”.
Stan’s cameo in Into the Spider-Verse played out shortly after his death and while the line is a reference to Stan missing Spidey, for many audience members the line spoke for how they felt in light of Stan’s passing.
As he said the words, many connected with the sentiment and felt that they were going to miss seeing Stan in Marvel movies. His cameos had become so famous that audiences loved to see where he would pop up next, so they were going to miss him being a part of the wider Marvel universe.
Does Stan Lee appear in more than one scene in Into the Spider-Verse?
While the scene at Stan’s Collectibles is Stan Lee’s main cameo in Into the Spider-Verse, Stan does also feature in other parts of the movie.
Look carefully and Stan appears in the background of a number of scenes. One of these scenes takes place shortly after Miles Morales and Peter B. Parker meet for the first time.
After fleeing from the police, Miles and Peter can be seen lying next to each other in the middle of the street. Look carefully and you can see Stan Lee step over the two characters as they are lay on the ground.
And in addition to blink-and-you’ll miss it background shots such as this one, the movie also includes a fitting tribute to Stan Lee via an onscreen message which plays mid-way through the film’s closing credits – so don’t switch off the movie until the very (very) end.
After the initial set of credits play out, the screen fades to black to be replaced by a pair of Stan Lee’s glasses, as well as a quote which reads: “That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.” – Stan Lee
Once again, this is another important message, which not only fits in with the tone of the movie, but also the ethos of the Spider-Man character and his mantra regarding ‘power and responsibility’.
The message is then replaced by the following: ‘Thank you Stan Lee & Steve Ditko – for telling us we aren’t the only ones.’
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko co-created Spider-Man. Stan and Steve both passed away in 2018.
Stan Lee’s cameo(s) in Into the Spider-Verse did not mark the final time that he would appear in a Marvel movie. In 2019, Stan appeared in Avengers: Endgame – yet his involvement in Into the Spider-Verse provided fans with his most poignant and heartfelt appearance.