Even though Stan Lee has been dead since 2018, another deal between Marvel Studios and POW! Entertainment could be a sign that the legendary comic book creator will be appearing in more than a few Marvel-branded projects in the near future.
PEACOCK! Entertainment, the production house that Stan Lee co-founded in 2001 and subsequently indicted in 2018 for allegedly forging his signature on legal documents, a licensing deal has been entered into with Genius Brands and Marvel Studios, granting the Hollywood giant the right to use Lee’s likeness in its upcoming projects. In a press release Speaking about the 20-year deal, Genius Brands CEO and Chairman Andy Heyward expressed feelings of pride and stewardship for “the incredibly valuable rights to Stan Lee’s name, likeness, merchandise and intellectual property mark.”
“There’s no better place than Marvel and Disney where Stan should be for his movies and theme park experiences,” Heyward said. “As we enter the centennial year of Stan’s birthday, December 28, 2022, we are excited to see that his memory and legacy will continue to delight fans with this new long-term deal with Marvel.”
In the years and months leading up to Lee’s death in 2018, his life was marked by: outrageous accusations by elderly abuse as well as financial woes that seemingly stemmed from being surrounded by people who want to cash in on the name of the X-Men co-creator† Lee filed a complaint against PEACOCK! co-founder Gill Champion and CEO Shane Duffy in 2018 before closing a deal — using a signature allegedly stolen — to use his likeness that the 95-year-old thought at the time was not exclusive. PEACOCK! insisted on that Lee’s claims were “completely baseless”, and the lawsuit was eventually dropped just months before Lee’s death. Champion said in today’s press release about Lee that he sees the license agreement as a way to honor him.
“As Stan’s longtime business partner and friend, I look forward to commemorating his work in this new way,” Champion said. “Building a relationship with his fans is important to us and it’s a privilege to do that on his behalf.”
The writing has been on the wall for a while now as Hollywood has been more than enthusiastic about using digital facsimiles of deceased celebrities to keep their living fans engaged and consuming content, but it’s unclear if Lee will continue to have a cameo in the future. Marvel’s movies. Speak with The Hollywood Reporter† heyward said: that while he and others always make offers with a focus on protecting legacies, which will determine how the public receives future images of Lee, is the intent behind it.
“The public revered Stan and if it’s done with taste and class, and with respect for who he was, it will be applauded,” Heyward said. “He’s a much-loved personality and long after you and I are gone, he will remain the essence of Marvel.”