Today, legendary comic book writer, editor, and publisher Stan Lee passed away at age 95. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lee died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The man who made the optimistic mantra “Excelsior!” his catchphrase is being mourned and remembered by genre fans around the world, including Star Trek fans and luminaries.
Lee, Marvel, Star Trek
Lee began his comics career at the company that would become Marvel in 1939, and by the 70s had risen to become its publisher. Marvel’s first connection to Star Trek came in 1980 when it published an adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and began an ongoing Star Trek series that ran through to 1982. Marvel again acquired the Star Trek license in 1996 and published a number of Star Trek comic series, mini-series and standalones for the next three years. Like all Marvel comic books of this era, the opening pages stated: “Stan Lee Presents.”
Lee’s legendary status is mostly due to creating iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, Thor, The Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. Lee appeared in Rod Roddenberry’s 2013 documentary about his father, Trek Nation, saying of Star Trek, “damn, this is good,” and complimenting Gene Roddenberry’s skill at the creation of characters and story in Star Trek, calling him a “master.” (see clip below)
Cameos with Patrick Stewart and a Star Trek fan film
The characters created by Lee helped to make Marvel one of the biggest players in Hollywood, spawning numerous franchises at multiple studios. Lee is famous for making fun cameos in the various films based on Marvel characters, including the X-Men series featuring Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Sir Patrick Stewart. Lee appeared in the same scene as Stewart in the 2006 film X-Men: Last Stand.
But Lee’s cameos extended outside of Marvel to even include a Star Trek fan film. Lee appeared as an admiral in the Starship Farragut vignette “Trek Isolation: A Great Responsibility,” in 2015. You can watch that vignette below.
Star Trek luminaries remember Stan Lee
A number of prominent figures in Star Trek have taken to social media to express their sadness on Lee’s passing and admiration for his work.
Thank you, Stan. You inspired us all… pic.twitter.com/7trQ9wV28d
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) November 12, 2018
What can I say about the loss of a visionary who created one of my favorite characters I've ever played? Stan Lee's fun-loving wit, charm, and poetic legacy will keep him alive for generations to come. My heart hurts, and he will be sorely missed.#StanLee #RIP @TheRealStanLee pic.twitter.com/EPST2GkNTu
— Doug Jones (@actordougjones) November 12, 2018
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I am very sad about Stan Lee's passing. In his work, he created heroes with flaws and that is what made X-Men so interesting for all of us who worked on the films. He always enjoyed visiting set and we loved having him there. Because of Stan, we were always very much aware that no matter what our superpowers were, at our core, we were all human beings. We could make mistakes and things could go wrong. It was that quality which gave humanity to all of his work. Thank you, Stan. You are loved and will be missed. Your legacy will live on in all of us. #StanLee
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Some people are influences. Others—a rare few—rearrange the very structure of your neurons. #StanLee’s creative and artistic contribution to the Marvel pantheon has been debated endlessly, but one has only to look at #JackKirby’s solo work to see what Stan brought to the partnership: an unshakable humanism, a faith in our human capacity for altruism and self-sacrifice and in the eventual triumph of the rational over the irrational, of love over hate, that was a perfect counterbalance to Kirby’s dark, hard-earned quasi-nihilism. In the heyday of their partnership, it was Stan’s vision that predominated and that continues to shape my way of seeing the world, and of telling stories about that world, to this day. #olevhasholem
Today we lost one of the greats. @TheRealStanLee, you were a inspiration and superhero to us all. Thank you for contributing so much- and giving us all something to aspire to! 💚
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) November 12, 2018
Stan Lee. A phenomenon. RIP
— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) November 12, 2018
— Adam Nimoy (@adam_nimoy) November 12, 2018
— Gates Plays (@gates_plays) November 12, 2018
Saddened to hear about @TheRealStanLee’s passing. Condolences to his daughter.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) November 12, 2018
Oh nooooooo. Stan. Rest In peace, lovely, brilliant man.
— Chase Masterson (@ChaseMasterson) November 12, 2018
— Bo Yeon Kim (@extspace) November 12, 2018
I’m hardly a comics guy, but hats off, #RIPStanLee today. From a time when comics creators lost control and credit for their work, Stan didn’t—and when you birth a new paradigm over and over, that’s important. If only his first name started with G, they coulda had a trio.
— Larry Nemecek (@larrynemecek) November 12, 2018
Goodbye, old friend. You were so full of life that I honestly thought you would live forever. I am honored to have known you. RIP. https://t.co/PxquiSfrSE
— Marina Sirtis (@Marina_Sirtis) November 12, 2018
I worked with Stan Lee on a pitch for a project several years ago. Sadly, nothing came of it, but he was gracious, kind, and thoughtful. One of the greats. RIP. #Excelsior
— Robert Hewitt Wolfe (@writergeekrhw) November 12, 2018
STAN LEE was a part of my life ever since I became self-aware. I was fortunate to meet him a number of times…and I even once appeared with him on SF VORTEX, a weekly news magazine on the Sci-Fi channel. He was a Celestial, a Titan, A Mutant, A Meta-Human and always a hero. RIP.
— Robert Meyer Burnett (@BurnettRM) November 12, 2018
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Met the genius #StanLee at my first convention. He had an endless line and signed autographs all day long, which he did almost every weekend. "Why do you do it, Stan?" I asked "Do you like meeting the fans, traveling, what?" "It's the fucking money, kid!" he winked. It wasn't. #RIPStanLee
From his fans here at TrekMovie, we say to Stan Lee: Excelsior! And, boldly go into that next beyond.