This Wednesday delivered not just the penultimate episode of Loki, but also a new Simpsons short titled “The Good, The Bart, and The Loki” that crossed over with the MCU. Tom Hiddleston reprised his role as the God of Mischief for a brief five-minute skit which saw the trickster banished from Asgard to Springfield. The short was basically an excuse to shove in as many references to the Marvel universe as possible, but it turns out one planned cameo was blocked by Marvel themselves.
Simpsons showrunner Al Jean explained to ComicBook.com that the original intention was to include the late, legendary Stan Lee in the short by reutilizing some dialogue Lee recorded for one of his guest spots on the animated series. However, Marvel Studios blocked the idea, citing their policy that Lee should no longer have any cameos in their productions following his passing in 2019. Here’s what Jean had to say:
“Only one time [did Marvel intervene]. It wasn’t a joke. We just thought, ‘Oh, we have Stan Lee audio from when he was on our show, could we cameo him in? And they said that their policy is he doesn’t cameo now that he’s passed away, which is a completely understandable policy. That was their only note and that was, of course, easily done. And the Grogu note [for the Star Wars-themed short] made total sense, too. It was like, if you let everybody use Grogu in their stuff that wanted to, it would be all over. Believe me, I respect that these franchises have a great power beyond ours. I respect it.”
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In his response, Jean also refers to the one joke Disney blocked from the last Simpsons short, “The Force Awakens From Its Nap”, which debuted on Star Wars Day. That was supposed to feature The Mandalorian‘s Grogu, but this ultimately wasn’t allowed due to Disney not wanting to overexpose the loveable Baby Yoda. Both the Star Wars and Marvel crossover shorts managed to squeeze in a tirade of other references, though, so that more than made up for these two vetoed cameos.
The revelation that Marvel doesn’t want to include Lee in any future project, even animated ones, is somewhat surprising. Presumably it’s a decision made out of respect for the comic book creator, or perhaps even a request from his family or estate not to exploit his image. Either way, the era of awaiting a sneaky cameo from Stan Lee in each new Marvel production that comes out is well and truly over.
If you haven’t done so already, you can catch The Simpsons: “The Good, The Bad, and The Loki” on Disney Plus now.