These days one of the things we all do when watching a Marvel property is go looking for Stan Lee. He has appeared in nearly everything Marvel has done on the big and small screen in recent years, possibly more than you think. If you count every time you see him in a movie or on television for a Marvel-related production, his cameo total comes up to an impressive 44 appearances.
The first Marvel cameo most people think about was Stan Lee’s appearance in the first X-Men movie back in 2000. He plays a guy buying a hot dog on the beach when Bruce Davison’s Senator Robert Kelly washes ashore. However, what is technically Lee’s first Marvel cameo is actually from the TV movie Trial of the Incredible Hulk in 1989. It’s a sequel to the Incredible Hulk TV series starring Bill Bixby that sees David Banner go on trial, and get defended by Daredevil Matt Murdock. Lee plays a member of the jury during a dream sequence where Banner imagines hulking out mid-trial.
Once Marvel became a go-to source for films in 2000, the steady stream of cameos for Stan Lee began. He appeared in all of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films and two of the three early X-Men movies, (he missing from X2 for some reason). He’s been in every Marvel Cinematic Universe film, and he even makes one memorable cameo in a non-live action movie, in the post-credits sequence of Disney’s Big Hero 6.
Stan Lee’s cameos haven’t been limited to the big screen. He’s also appeared in all of Marvel’s current television series, though in many cases the appearance is even less “live” than Big Hero 6. He has appeared as a character in shows like The Gifted and Hulu’s Marvel’s Runaways, but Stan has never appeared in person in any of Netflix’s Marvel shows. Instead, he’s appeared as part of a photograph on a sign or poster. Interestingly, Lee is apparently playing the same character in every poster, NYPD Captain Irving Forbush. The one exception is the brand new season of Jessica Jones where Lee is seen on a bus ad for law firm Forbush and Associates.
The cameo number will reach 45, we assume, next month when Avengers: Infinity War arrives in theaters. We’re hoping for a big cameo moment to celebrate 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The number is actually higher if you include cameos in places like digital series and video games, though, however, you count it, nobody has been a bigger part of pop culture in recent years than Stan Lee.