Avengers: Endgame has several bittersweet moments, as we say goodbye to some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s original actors, as well the late Stan Lee.
Co-creator of the Avengers, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and so many other heroes and villains, Stan Lee was the face behind all this fun comics.
He is also known to have cameos in films based on MCU characters. However, Endgame marks Lee’s final MCU appearance, following his death in November at age 95.
A Recap over Stan’s Endgame Cameo
When the Avengers devise their time heist, using the Quantum Realm, to gather the Infinity Stones from the past, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark set out to stanch the Tesseract in 2012’s The Avengers, right after the Battle of New York.
That mission fails, due to Loki, so they make another quantum leap, to 1970, and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s New Jersey base to snag the Space Stone.
But just as that adventure kicks off, we see Lee in his heyday in an apt scene depicting “The Man” celebrating life.
Later we see a white muscle car speeds down the road to a military compound. With Steppenwolf’s “Hey Lawdy Mama” on full blast and one of Lee’s catchphrases, “‘Nuff Said,” which then leads the camera to shifts its gaze to Lee driving the car, de-aged and looking as sharp as ever.
There’s an attractive woman in the passenger seat, and, in what’s sure to be his definitive cameo, he yells “Make love, not war!” to the soldiers stationed outside the gates as he whizzes by.
Claus talks about Stan’s Cameo
“There was some work, very minor de-aging done on Captain Marvel,” Claus said about Lee’s cameo in the prequel.
“But that was 10 years ago or something, so not really a noticeable change overall, especially for a man of his age.
But for this one, we had to go back 45 years, so it was a pretty sizable amount.”
When asked to break down the process behind such a big de-aging, Claus compared it to a work of art.
“The work that we do, we don’t create a CG replication of the actor.
We use the actor that’s actually there on the screen, so we were actually modifying the actor in the performance that was there on set as opposed to re-creating something new,” Claus explains.
“I started with the first, as far as de-aging and stuff goes, with the first Captain America.”
To start the process off on the right foot, Claus and his team gathered up as many reference shots as they could, meaning they hunted down picture after picture of Lee in the 1970s. Then from there, they used their proprietary software to make the magic happen.
Speaking to Radio Times, Avengers: Endgame co-director, Joe Russo, said: “Obviously it was exceedingly sad that this cameo was his final appearance, but I do think what was shot was very fitting.”
With his hippie attire and suave look, the de-aged Lee adds a fun layer to the film, breaking the tension.