In the three days since the news broke that Stan Lee was no longer with us, tributes to the late, great comic book writer have continued to flood the internet, with countless fans and acquaintances taking to social media to mourn his passing and reflect on the writer’s immense legacy.
Among the latest celebrities to thank Lee for his unparalleled contributions to the superhero genre is Patrick Stewart, who first assumed the role of Professor Xavier in 2000’s X-Men. As well as sharing a photo of himself and the man who co-created his character, Stewart offered a few words on Lee’s influence:
“I am very sad about Stan Lee’s passing. Because of Stan, all of us who worked on the X-Men films were always very much aware that no matter our superpowers, we were all human beings at the core. Thank you, Stan. Your legacy and humanity will live on in all of us.”
Stewart’s thoughts echo a recent tweet from his regular co-star Hugh Jackman, with the Wolverine actor praising Lee as “a creative genius,” before adding that he was “proud to have been a small part of his legacy.”
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The 2000 X-Men saw a lot of major firsts for the Marvel brand. As well as bringing this mutant saga to the big screen and giving Stewart and Jackman two of their most famous and frequently reprised roles, it was also the first major Marvel feature film to see a cameo from Lee, kicking off a tradition that endured until his final days.
What’s more, it was on the set of this movie that Lee first encountered future Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who recently recalled the infectious energy that he saw from the man on that day and continued to see in the years since.
“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.”
In light of the impending Disney/Fox deal, it looks Feige and the X-Men franchise will be reuniting once more, suggesting a new beginning for one of the many cherished comic book creations that Stan Lee left behind.