Kevin Feige has a long history of bringing Marvel comics to the screen that goes back beyond the launch of the MCU to his work as associate producer on 2000’s X-Men. It’s here that the Marvel Studios head met the man who helped lay the foundations for so much of the work Feige would go on to do, and in an interview with Deadline, he reflected on this first encounter with the late Stan Lee.
The original X-Men movie would kick off the tradition of Lee getting cameos in every major Marvel film, and when Feige had his first meeting with the legendary writer on the set, he saw an energy in the figure that would stay in him right up until his final days.
“Every meeting with Stan Lee was better than the last,” Feige told Deadline. “That’s been true from the first time I met him — when I was 26 years old and on the set of the first X-Men movie and we were filming his cameo on a beach in Malibu as a hot dog vendor — to just 10 days ago at his house. That was one of the amazing things about Stan: his charisma and his enthusiasm. For 95 years, almost 96 years, that spirit was infectious and that spirit made Marvel what it is.”
Ever since the news broke that Lee has passed away, we’ve been seeing an outpouring of tributes from fans and industry insiders alike, and it seems that Feige wasn’t the only one to notice this spark in the publisher when they met him face to face.
Hugh Jackman, for example, recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where the X-Men star called Lee “a true gentleman that had this glint in his eye.” Meanwhile, Chris Evans – known for his turns as Captain America in the MCU and the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four films – recalled via Twitter how the writer “exuded love and kindness.”
Though most of us never had the privilege of knowing Stan Lee in person, his influence can be seen far and wide in our current pop culture, and it will likely remain that way for many years to come.