Look out, it’s time for another outlandish fan theory, as it has been suggested that Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee, noted for his frequent cameos in Marvel movies, has secretly been portraying the same character all this time.
Seemingly the only Marvel figure not tied to one specific studio, Lee’s jokey blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearances have been one of the few unifying factors of the Marvel Studios movies, 20th Century Fox’s Marvel movies (‘X-Men,’ ‘Fantastic Four,’ ‘Daredevil’), and Sony’s ‘Spider-Man’ movies.
This has resulted in speculation that Lee in fact portrays the same character in every movie: omnipresent celestial being The Watcher, who - as the name might suggest - is dedicated to observing events in the Marvel universe.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the Watcher, also known as Uatu, in the April 1963 issue of ‘The Fantastic Four.’ He, and others of his race of Watchers, have appeared in numerous different Marvel comics over the decades.
The Watchers are said to be among the oldest beings in existence, whose duty is to observe and record all activity across the entire universe – but never to directly interfere.
Given that Stan Lee has an uncanny knack for showing up whenever superhero activity is afoot, it’s not hard to see why some would imagine that he could indeed be Uatu.
While this theory has been brewing in cyberspace for some time, it was recently brought centre stage by Cinema Blend. They suggest Stan Lee could be “a disguise” for the Watcher, thereby accounting for Lee not being a giant with a bald head.
They also note that what makes this idea “really fun” is that it suggests “a larger multiverse that really connects all of the Marvel franchises.” After all, isn’t it nicer to think that the Avengers, the X-Men and Spider-Man live in parallel dimensions from one another, as opposed to being held apart by legal red tape?
One possible hole in the theory, however, is Lee’s appearance in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ given that Uatu is assigned to watch over Earth, and not the far reaches of space where that film takes place.
However, Cinema Blend have this covered, suggesting “he may have been in space in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ because he’s keeping an eye on Peter Quill, an Earthling, and already knew about his important future role in the universe.”
Lee was directly asked about this at the recent Alamo City Comic Con (covered by ComicBook.com), and perhaps unsurprisingly he dismissed the notion - though, being Stan Lee, he dismissed it in as charming a fashion as possible.
While not admitting to being The Watcher, Lee said, “Well, I will admit I’ve been keeping my eye on all of you…
“No, I’m afraid I don’t have any super power and I’m not extraterrestrial. Though, I’ll admit I’m a wonderful human being, but I’m really just a little more wonderful than most.”
Of his cameos, Lee joked, “They never give me a role that I can really sink my teeth into. But I will tell you, speaking of Avengers #3, I have a cameo in that movie, which is the funniest cameo I have done yet.
"I cannot tell you what it is or they would shoot me, but you must not miss it, because it gave me a chance to show my acting chops.”
Presumably Lee is actually referring to the upcoming 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' here, given a third ‘Avengers’ film isn’t even officially confirmed yet - but surely we can forgive him getting a little mixed up, he’s not as young as he used to be.
Image credit: Marvel