There are a few constants when it comes to any Marvel movie. There will be some laughs and quick, light-hearted banter. There will be call-backs to past Marvel movies, as well as nods and gentle nudging towards future projects. And of course, there will a cameo from the man himself, Stan Lee.
Thor: Ragnarok is no exception. Lee is there, albeit briefly, but there nonetheless. At this point, it wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without him.
So what is Lee doing this time? Well according to reports Lee is earning his keep. Employed by the Grandmaster (played by Jeff Goldblum,) Lee gives Thor a haircut before his gladiator-style battle with the Hulk. So if you were a fan of Thor’s long golden locks, it looks like you have Lee to blame for Thor now rocking more of a buzz cut.
Lee created Thor, basing him off of the character of the same name in Norse mythology, in the early 1960’s. Thor made his Marvel Comics debut in August of 1962, appearing in Journey Into Mystery, a science fiction and fantasy anthology. Thor was also created by Larry Lieber, a scripter for Marvel, and Jack Kirby, who was a penciller-plotter. Kirby has said that he had created a different version of Thor for D.C. Comics in the 1950’s, but the Marvel version was a modernized version of both the Thor Kirby created and the Thor from Norse mythology.
“How do you make someone stronger than the strongest person?” Lee said in 2002. “It finally came to me: Don’t make him human — make him a god. I decided readers were already pretty familiar with the Greek and Roman gods. It might be fun to delve into the old Norse legends… Besides, I pictured Norse gods looking like Vikings of old, with the flowing beards, horned helmets, and battle clubs. …Journey into Mystery needed a shot in the arm, so I picked Thor … to headline the book. After writing an outline depicting the story and the characters I had in mind, I asked my brother, Larry, to write the script because I didn’t have time. …and it was only natural for me to assign the penciling to Jack Kirby.”
Lee has appeared in almost every Marvel movie since 2002, including the ones produced before this current run of Marvel movies that started with the first Iron Man in 2008. That would include the 20th Century Fox X-Men movies, the Spider-Man movies produced by Sony, Fox’s Fantastic Four movies, and Disney Animation’s Big Hero 6, which is based on a Marvel comic.
The only movie Lee hasn’t appeared in was 2015’s Fantastic Four. The movie was a disaster and if you ask Lee, he’d tell you it’s because he wasn’t in it. If you ask me, I’d tell you it was also because the movie was terrible.
Lee’s cameos have varied from non-speaking roles to speaking roles, with the speaking roles also varying from a line or two to more substantial dialogue. By and large, Lee is usually relegated to saving someone from a falling object or two.
Here is a montage of all of Lee’s cameos.
Next up is The Black Panther. Lee is said to be on that movie as well, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fit him in.