Warning: Mild spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are in play. If you haven't seen the film yet, please bookmark this story and come back later, once you've caught up.
If there's anything more closely guarded than the boundaries between the worlds of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Fox's own Marvel Universe, we don't know what is. The rights to any given characters fall on either side of their respective fences, and while we know both companies share usage of Quicksilver in differing contexts, it can hard to figure out where other characters go. But if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 went with another version the film shot of its big Stan Lee cameo, it would have added one more link between the universes. Writer and director James Gunn recently said as much, and he gave the following details on the cameo:
While Gunn obviously didn't use the take with the reference to 2016's runaway hit Deadpool, it is admittedly a funny gag that would have worked if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 decided to go a little more risky with its humor. Undoubtedly, if this were to have made it into any pre-screening cut of this summer's first big blockbuster, it probably would have been nixed by the Disney brass, and if Gunn had wanted to use the cut, he may have also had to get the go-ahead from Fox, too. Probably more trouble than it was worth.
Honestly, although James Gunn didn't explicitly state it during the live broadcast via his Facebook page, the fact that the Stan Lee strip club cameo occurred in Deadpool, a fully owned and operated property by 20th Century Fox, probably has to do with the scene's untimely demise. It doesn't feel like something Disney would want in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as it's basically akin to free advertising for a Fox movie. Not to mention it might set a dangerous precedent for fans to start bugging the house that Mickey built for some sort of crossover event between Disney's Marvel folk and Fox's folk. But depending on who you ask, that horse has already left the gate for some time now.
Marvel Studios and Fox don't look like they're any closer to bridging the gap between their respective empires anytime soon, and it's a shame. If the Stan Lee that delivers FedEx packages, runs the Playboy empire, and finds himself on the other end of an Asgardian hangover can't spin the latest hits at the local go-go bar, what are we really teaching our children?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is currently at the top of the box office charts, and in theaters now.