Stan Lee’s Likeness Sold To Marvel

Stan Lee’s Likeness Sold To Marvel

Genius Brands International and POW! Entertainment have signed a 20-year deal with Marvel to bring Stan Lee back into the MCU and beyond, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The comics legend passed away in 2018, and his last in-person cameos were in 2019, for Captain Marvel, where he was digitally de-aged to fit the 1990s setting, and Avengers: Endgame. With this new licensing deal, however, it seems like that might not be the last time we see Lee on-screen.

So, what can Marvel do with Stan Lee?

  • It can use Stan Lee’s name and likeness in feature films, TV productions, at theme parks and “experiences” (for example, a cruise line), and in merchandising.
  • It can use “digital technologies” and archival footage to imitate Lee’s likeness.
  • Lee can appear as a toy, on stationary, apparel, and video games, and in virtual reality.
  • Marvel can replicate, recreate, or use recordings of Lee’s voice.
  • Marvel can continue to use Lee’s signature.
  • Technically, the studio can place Lee in films, much like late Star Wars stars Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing were digitally placed in Rogue One.

While there is the ability to recreate Lee for the screen, a source told THR that “this new deal does not necessarily pave the way for the return of Lee cameos in movies.” Andy Heyward, the chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, has said that “there needed to be a steward of his legacy” after the complicated reveal of Lee’s “conflicts” immediately after his death. “The audience revered Stan and if it’s done with taste and class, and respectful of who he was, it will be welcomed,” said Heyward to THR. “He is a beloved personality and long after you and I are gone, he will remain the essence of Marvel.”

Want more Gizmodo news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.


  • Basically digging up his dead body to parade it around.

    What a disgrace. It wasnt enough that he was abused when he was alive, now you have to do it after he is in the grave.

  • I don’t think it will ever be well received by me, it was always the man, not his likeness.

    It was always fun to see him in the films but the cameo that always stuck with me was his appearance in the most recent Spidey game.
    (Petes, not Miles)

  • If this was his will I am fine with it, he did love Marvel and he did spear head Hollywood expansion for the brand for decade’s.

    … but knowing the elderly abuse he suffered before his end, I feel a few ungrateful sods got richer for it.

  • As much as I love Stan Lee and wish he could cameo in Marvel films forever, he is dead and this just feels icky to the extreme. It is one thing to use the technology we have to allow someone to complete a role they were tied to (ie. Carrie Fisher in Episode 9, or Paul Walker in F&F7, or Oliver Reed in Gladiator), but it’s another thing to digitally ressurect someone for a role they cannot themselves sign up for.

  • I am beyond fuckin’ perplexed as to even HOW someone else can own this ‘property’ in order to sell it in the first place.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!