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It’s hard to imagine a more perfect cameo at a more perfect time than Stan Lee’s appearance in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. While selling Miles Morales a Spider-Man suit, Stan Lee’s shop owner tells the future web-crawler that he and Spider-Man were friends and that he was going to miss him before letting Miles know that the suit always fits, eventually. There were other lines considered for Stan Lee’s cameo though, and now Spider-Verse co-director Rodney Rothman has revealed what they are on social media. Per the co-director:
Man, this could have been a real Sophie’s choice because each of these alternate lines is great and would have worked for the function of the important scene. In different ways, each of the cut lines says something about the importance of having and believing in heroes, exactly the sort of thing that Miles Morales needs to hear in that moment after the death of Spider-Man.
The first and third lines speak to the invincible quality we ascribe to superheroes and those in our own lives growing up, that ability of heroes to seem larger-than-life and eternal. Stan Lee’s puzzlement in the second line, about why the Spidey suits keep selling, reminds us and Miles that people will always crave heroes to look up to.
Beyond just working as great lines for the cameo that service the scene, these lines also operate on a meta level. It’s almost eerie how each of these lines take on a certain poignancy and melancholy quality in the wake of Stan Lee’s death.
The first line, about not believing that Spider-Man could die, is how many of us felt about Stan Lee himself. The legendary comics creator just seemed to keep going well into old age with the vigor and enthusiasm of the most excited young fans that have enjoyed his work over the years.
The second line speaks to the incredible alchemy that Stan Lee and his contemporaries achieved with the superheroes that dominate cinema screens today. There is no exact, cut-and-dry answer revealing what about superheroes connects with people, but they do and thus continue to sell.
The last line is an especially tough one because we know in fact that Spider-Man did outlive Stan Lee, and that the legacy of the man will indeed live on because Spider-Man and all the other characters he had a hand in creating will live on.
This is some cool insight into the other potential lines Stan Lee could have thrown out in his Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse cameo. As Rodney Rothman said in his tweet, Stan Lee himself favored the line that wound up in the final film, as that’s the one that had the most meaning to him.
As we’ve heard before, that line was recorded not long after Stan Lee’s wife Joan passed away, so perhaps when he was saying, “I’m going to miss him” he was really thinking about his wife. That line and the part about them being friends is how many of us feel about Stan Lee. That, in some ways, he was like our friend and we are going to miss him.
Really Spider-Verse couldn’t have gone wrong with any of the lines, but it is nice to know the filmmakers went with the one that Stan Lee preferred. There was arguably no better balm to soothe our wounded hearts at Stan Lee’s passing than to see the comics legend in animated form in a Spider-Man movie.
The Best Animated Feature Oscar winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is now on home video. Check out our 2019 release schedule to see all the biggest movies still to come this year.