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UPDATED: James Gunn speaks about Stan Lee’s Missing Guardians of the Galaxy Cameo

September 3rd, 2014 by Dave Bowling Comments

Guardians of the Galaxy is easily Marvel’s funniest, weirdest film so far.

It is also the first Marvel film that has really pushed what can and can’t be gotten away with under Disney’s watch. Take the scene where Peter Quill says that shining a blacklight around the interior of The Milano would make it look like a Jackson Pollock painting: apparently not even James Gunn could believe he got away with including those lines. However, there were still moments that had to be cut before filming got underway, under orders from the House of Mouse.

Speaking with James and his brother Sean Gunn at Dragon Con, Collider confirmed that one of the moments that they had to change was the cameo of Marvel’s generalissimo Stan Lee himself: “One of the losing battles regarded Stan Lee’s original cameo in the film. Originally, Gunn had planned to have Lee in one of the Collector’s exhibits. Groot would then look at the exhibit aghast, to which Lee would flick off the large tree creature.”

This in the film that saw Quill get away with flipping the bird at the Nova Corps. So what makes him different to Stan Lee? Apparently, it’s the fact that Stan Lee is an actual person and not a fictional character. Star-Lord flipping off the camera is okay because at that point in the film he’s an outlaw the audience are not yet fully invested in. Stan Lee, on the other hand, is a real-life figure that transcends the roles he’s given, and if kids see Stan Lee give the finger to one of the movie’s heroes, they might be more susceptible to learning the ways of the middle digit if they see it elicit laughs twice in the same “family friendly” picture. Instead, we have Lee appear as an intergalactic ladies’ man. That, folks, is what I shall from now on refer to as ‘Disney Logic’.

Still, the odds are that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will find ways to push Disney in more bonkers and intriguing ways than we can currently think of.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is currently pencilled in for a 28 July 2017 release date.


Gunn has been quick to defend Disney in this story, saying they had no part in the scene not being filmed – he also shared a pic from it (at the end):

“At a panel on Sunday at Dragoncon, I talked about a deleted @realstanlee cameo in Guardians, and promised the folks there I’d post a photo on Instagram – so here it is! As you can see, this is not Stan, but a double. In the original cut of the film, when the Guardians enter the Collector’s museum, Rocket looks over and sees Cosmo the dog in one display case, Quill looks over into another display case and is surprised by a tentacle slapping against the glass, and Groot looks over and sees, in another display case, Stan Lee.

In one take, Stan Lee just slowly turns up his finger, flipping off Groot. We shot this footage with a Stan Lee double because Stan wasn’t able to come to the UK at the time. The plan was to shoot Stan in the same lighting when I was back in LA, and we’d digitally replace the double’s head with Stan’s actual head (not quite as difficult as it sounds). Although I thought the cameo was funny, I thought the flipping off joke was too similar to the moment earlier in the film where Quill flips off the Nova Corps, so I excised that part of it immediately.

A couple of the guys at Marvel thought Stan Lee in a case was too broad of a joke in general, and that it took the audience out of the movie. I argued about it for a bit, but we ended up not keeping it in the film. In a pretty typical case of Internet-journalism-telephone, articles online yesterday said that Disney forbade the scene because of standards . However, that’s incorrect – no one at Disney ever even saw the scene, and it was cut solely for creative reasons.” (Darkhorizons)

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Dave was born at an early age to parents of both sexes. He has been a self-confessed geek for as long as he can remember, having been raised through the 80s on a steady diet of Doctor Who, Star Trek, Red Dwarf and (sigh) Knight Rider. Throw the usual assortment of Saturday morning cartoons into the mix and we have something quite exceptional: someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of utter tosh; a love of giant robots and spaceships fighting; and the strange desire to leap tall buildings in a single bound while wearing his underpants over his trousers. The death ray is currently in the works and one day you shall all bow to him, his giant space station and fleet of funky orange space shuttles...