Stan Lee’s likeness has been signed off to Marvel Entertainment in a 20-year deal with Stan Lee Universe, a venture between Genius Brands International and POW! Entertainment. The comic Icon died in 2018 at the age of 95.
The deal provides Marvel with a license to the name and likeness of Lee for the use of continued cameos in future Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films and television productions. It also allows Disney theme parks to use the writer’s likeness for various “experiences” and merchandising.
The deal would have Lee return as a cameo king for MCU films, shows and more, but left many fans wondering about the moral implications of placing the deceased author into movies.
“It really ensures that Stan, through digital technology and archival footage and other forms, will live in the most important venue, the Marvel movies, and Disney theme parks,” said Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands. “It’s a broad deal.”
According to sources, this new deal doesn’t necessarily pave the way for the return of Lee’s comedic speaking cameos in movies as fans traditionally recognize. Digital resurrecting an actor from the dead by use of CGI has been a controversial topic, with a majority of people having disdain for the prospect.
The deal specifically gives Marvel permission to use Lee’s name, voice, likeness and signature in movies and television projects, as well as to use past images, pre-existing footage and audio. The rights to use Lee’s name, voice, likeness and signature exclusively in Disney theme parks, Disney cruise lines and in-park merchandise were also included.