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With an amazing 32 seasons under its belt, The Simpsons has been not only a pop culture staple on its own for several decades, but a way for those behind the classic animated series to examine a lot of things seen in the real world, including other major pop culture touchstones. The show recently used the lore of Star Wars to create the short The Force Awakens from Its Nap, and while another recently released short, The Good, The Bart, and The Loki takes on the God of Mischief and all things Marvel, it turns out that there was one cameo they weren't allowed to use.
The new parody The Simpsons: The Good, The Bart, and The Loki, sees Loki banished to Springfield for one of his many misdeeds, where he accidentally transports Lisa to Asgard, and the put-upon middle child ends up being granted with Thor's powers. The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean, who's been working with the series for nearly its entire run in one capacity or another, recently spoke about the new short with Comicbook. During the chat, he revealed that with all of the hundreds of characters available in Marvel Comics, and the dozens who've populated the MCU, there was only one cameo they weren't allowed, and said:
Only one time. It wasn't a joke. We just thought, 'Oh, we have Stan Lee audio from when he was on our show, could we cameo him in?' And they said that their policy is he doesn't cameo now that he's passed away, which is a completely understandable policy. That was their only note and that was, of course, easily done....Believe me, I respect that these franchises have a great power beyond ours. I respect it.
Marvel's Stan Lee, of course, famously appeared in all of the property's films, animated shows, and several of the live action series before his death in November 2018 at the age of 95. But, he also popped up (whether as himself or not) now and then in non-Marvel movies or shows, such as The Big Bang Theory, Heroes, Yoga Hosers, Fresh Off the Boat, and The Simpsons.
In fact, Lee voiced himself on the animated series three times, and the show had unused audio left over which could have easily been worked into The Good, The Bart, and The Loki. Al Jean made it clear that he wasn't interested in joking around with Lee's cartoon representation, and noted that he and his team only wanted to pay tribute to him and his dozens of MCU appearances.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, with Marvel having a strict policy about any unused footage or audio of Stan Lee not being used to construct cameos now that's he's passed away, even in animation. Thankfully, it wasn't too big of a bummer for Al Jean and the folks working on The Simpsons crossover short, as Jean said he could readily admit that it's "a completely understandable policy."
The Simpsons: The Good, The Bart, and The Loki is available to stream right now on Disney+, along with Loki, and 31 seasons of The Simpsons, but if you need more to watch, check out our 2021 summer TV schedule!