The following contains minor spoilers for Captain Marvel**.**
When we lost Stan Lee at the end of last year, Marvel fans were in shock. when it wasn't necessarily an unexpected turn of events, the man who helped bring so many of our favorite heroes to life was loved by many who never met him that everybody felt it. Since then, we've seen tributes to Lee included in Once Upon a Deadpool and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but the one included in this week's Captain Marvel may be the best of them all. It doesn't wait until the credits roll where some might not see it. It drops it right into the opening seconds of the movie, by making Stan Lee the focal point of the Marvel Studios logo.
If you've seen any Marvel movie you're familiar with the Marvel Studios logo that plays either at the very beginning of every film, or after a short cold open. The current version of the logo is a collage of brief clips of various MCU films showing off all our favorite heroes in action. We see Captain America and Iron Man and Black Widow and the Hulk all looking awesome while the camera pulls back to reveal the Marvel Studios logo.
The one in front of Captain Marvel, however, is slightly different. It functions exactly the same way, only instead of seeing our favorite Marvel heroes, we get clips of Stan Lee in all of his various MCU cameos that he's made over the years. We don't see any other characters. No Iron Man. No Thor. It's just Stan. All Stan. As the logo fades away a text briefly flashes on the screen to say thank you to Stan Lee, then our movie gets underway.
It's an incredibly lovely way to say goodbye, one that touched the entire audience at my screening. The audience erupted in cheers and applause as soon as everybody realized what we were seeing. It was glorious. There may have been tears. From other people, I mean.
Of course, that wasn't the only time we saw Stan Lee in Captain Marvel's run time. Lee filmed his requisite cameo for the film before he died. It comes fairly early in the film. Vers (Brie Larson) has chased a Skrull onto a city bus and she's trying to figure out which of the humans on the bus is now the hiding Skrull. One of the people on the bus is Stan Lee.
Interestingly, unlike most of Stan's cameos, where he's playing a random nameless character, in this cameo he's actually playing Stan Lee. We see Stan on the bus reading a movie script and trying to learn his lines. Specifically, he's reading the script to Kevin Smith's 1995 comedy Mallrats. Yes, Stan Lee's cameo makes reference to another Stan Lee cameo.
We understand that Stan Lee filmed his cameo for Avengers: Endgame as well, so we'll likely see him again at least one more time. As it's only a couple months from now, maybe Stan Lee will be in the Marvel logo again then. It will be fitting to be sure Stan Lee gets a proper thank you during the film the entire MCU has being building towards. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing that again.