Check Out Stan Lee's Alternate Cameo in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
Yesterday, there were some reports going around about an alternate cameo that Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee would have had in Guardians of the Galaxy instead of what ended up on the big screen. Rather than being called an old pervert by Rocket Raccoon, the comic creator was almost part of The Collector's expansive collection of aliens, creatures and other goodies. When our heroes arrive in The Collector's lair, they would have encountered Lee in one of the containers, not unlike the Dark Elf or Chitauri soldier we can see in the background (or the end credits cameo), and he would have flipped off Groot. So what happened?
Reports said Disney didn't like this cameo, but director James Gunn cleared things up with this photo:
Gunn wrote this to accompany the photo:
At a panel on Sunday at Dragoncon, I talked about a deleted [Stan Lee] cameo in Guardians, and promised the folks there I’d post a photo on Instagram – so here it is! As you can see, this is not Stan, but a double. In the original cut of the film, when the Guardians enter the Collector’s museum, Rocket looks over and sees Cosmo the dog in one display case, Quill looks over into another display case and is surprised by a tentacle slapping against the glass, and Groot looks over and sees, in another display case, Stan Lee. In one take, Stan Lee just slowly turns up his finger, flipping off Groot.
Now you might notice that the man in the picture isn't actually Stan Lee, and Gunn explains:
We shot this footage with a Stan Lee double because Stan wasn’t able to come to the UK at the time. The plan was to shoot Stan in the same lighting when I was back in LA, and we’d digitally replace the double’s head with Stan’s actual head (not quite as difficult as it sounds). Although I thought the cameo was funny, I thought the flipping off joke was too similar to the moment earlier in the film where Quill flips off the Nova Corps, so I excised that part of it immediately. A couple of the guys at Marvel thought Stan Lee in a case was too broad of a joke in general, and that it took the audience out of the movie. I argued about it for a bit, but we ended up not keeping it in the film. In a pretty typical case of Internet-journalism-telephone, articles online yesterday said that Disney forbade the scene because of standards . However, that’s incorrect – no one at Disney ever even saw the scene, and it was cut solely for creative reasons.
So there you have it. In the end, this really feels like the right choice. Stan Lee cameos are always amusing, but this particular one would have really been a weird addition in the Marvel universe, mostly because it would seem to indicate that the comic creator exists in a world where all of the comics he would be known for creating are real. It's a bit too meta of a reference for the cinematic universe, despite still being clever.