Marvel licenses the name and image rights of late Marvel icon Stan Lee

In a surreal sign of the times, Marvel have licensed the right to use the likeness and name of Stan Lee, the iconic creator of many of the publisher’s most popular superheroes.

Marvel acquires Stan Lee. Just let that sink in, along with all of the dystopian, nightmarish connotations it carries. The man, who arguably contributed more to the continued success of Marvel than anyone else, is essentially now one of their IPs.

Stan Lee rose to prominence in the 1960s as a successful comic book writer, publisher and editor. He served as the creative leader of Marvel for over 20 years, co-creating some of the publisher’s most valuable pieces of intellectual property; including Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Doctor Strange.

stan lee marvel
Image: Guardians of the Galaxy / Marvel

And now the creation owns the creator (who it should be noted passed away in 2018).

As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Marvel have come to an agreement with the Stan Lee Universe (what?) “to license the name and likeness of Lee for use in future feature films and television productions, as well as Disney theme parks, various ‘experiences’ and merchandising.

Stan Lee was famous for appearing as a cameo in many of the films and television series based on his creations. Notable examples include Avengers: Endgame, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man and Thor: Ragnarok.


However, there was some suggestion that Marvel would not continue this trend after Lee’s passing. It appears that position has now been reconsidered, and that the creator will continue his work from beyond the grave.

It is currently unclear exactly how Marvel plan to use these rights, but it is clear that they plan to use them in some way, shape or form.

This won’t be the first time we’ve seen an artist brought back to life through technology; everyone from Whitney Huston to Roy Orbison have toured the world as fancy holograms. This feels a little different though, considering that Stan Lee isn’t exactly a famous performer with a setlist of hit tracks that people are dying to hear in concert.

We’ll watch this space to see how it develops, but I’m honestly a little worried we’ll see Marvel try to roll Stan Lee out as the latest member of the Avengers or something. And I really don’t think I’m down with it.