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
I was nine when I bought this comic and it blew my little mind. Thank you and bless you Stan. ‘Nuff Said! #StanLee pic.twitter.com/egAGlFjcSp
— Adam Nimoy (@adam_nimoy) November 12, 2018
Sad news indeed. Our hearts are with all those who knew and loved @TheRealStanLee. https://t.co/Bk49tBoQW4
— 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.
We knew it was coming eventually but its still devastating. My heart sunk when I read this. Lee has become as iconic as his characters, especially for a younger generation after the MCU took off. Will miss his great spirit, personality and genius! And it won’t be the same without seeing him pop up in his various Marvel cameos. But his impact and influence in popular culture will last probably for infinity at this point.
That was my first thought too, was that we’re suddenly going to stop seeing those cameos of his we forget to look out for.
They’ll still do the cameos. They just won’t feature his performances.
I expect that every Marvel film will feature a poster or TV screen with him on at some point.
I do wonder if they will CGI recreate him in future films for brief appearances, and if they do, it would free them up to show him at various ages throughout his life. That would be neat, just in the background, with no dialogue.
It’ll happen eventually. Problem is, once you can create CGI actors so realistic they actually do look human, would actors no longer be needed? Can CGI even get that good at all or is there always going to be a limit on how far you can take it.
Currently they generally record actors playing out the scenes and then transfer their movements onto the CGI characters. At least for foreground characters. Even if you could get CGI characters to look more human you will probably still need a real person providing the performance for some time before a computer can automatically generate a performance from scratch.
That’s a whole other discussion.
Supposedly he filmed several cameos at one time earlier this year. It may be that they stockpiled them knowing that he was near the end of his ability to film them. He stopped going to comic conventions in the last few years.
There will never be another like Stan. Rest well.
Rest in peace Stan Lee.
No writer has had a greater influence on my life and work than Stan Lee.
Lord Bless you and keep you sir.
R.I.P Stan Lee! Thank you for your imagination and creativity!
His work truly made my childhood shine, as growing up I collected (and read over and over and over) hundreds of Marvel comics – 95 is a very good run, a well-lived, long life. Godspeed, and RIP.
Stan Lee…you have inspired generations of people in the fandom community and beyond.
We’ll meet again…exzelsior!!
He was truly a legend and lived his life to fullest right until the end. He was like everyone’s generous and jokey grandfather. He will be missed. RIP sir, and one final time, Excelsior!!!!
Rest in peace Stan, thanks for all those heroes.
Was never a huge comics fan growing up. Superman, and to a lesser extent, Batman was as far as I got, and even then mostly on film.
But Lee’s impact was undeniable (even if some of his characters were ripped off from DC). He became unquestionably the figurehead of comics and seemed a humble man who was willing to sit down and cross the divide (see his involvement in Superman and Batman documentaries as just a couple of examples).
Plus, even for those of us not really invested in his comics, he basically reinvented himself in his final years as a loveable minor movie star.
I don’t get that sad at celebrity deaths unless they had a true impact on my life (such as Leonard Nimoy) since they mostly have enjoyed much better lives than I have. That said, I feel truly sad that in the last couple of years, since his wife died, he was exploited and defrauded by members of his staff and support circle. An indication perhaps that however much money you have, you can still be exploited the older you get.
Yeah, its very unfortunate, just today I was trying to teach my students about “opportunistic” people and how unfortunate that this has become a lifestyle to many people, especially in my country. What is even sadder is the fact that I see this opportunism among my students too which makes me sad for the future. It is truly sad that some people can’t live without thinking about nobody but themselves and how money trumps everything for them.
Nice word play
I outgrew comics long ago and had no interest in any of the MCU movies. Still, I was happy Stan Lee was kicking around out there and still having fun. He was to comic books what Gene Roddenberry was to us, he was a contemporary of Gene’s, and, I dare say, a sight nicer. Lux aeterna dona eis (et excelsior!).
I’m not devastated or even sad. He lived a long, healthy, wonderful, and prosperous life and got to make in impact on millions of lives in a positive way, and by all accounts was a genuinely wonderful human being.
We’d all be lucky to be have a fraction of the success he achieved in life (and I’m not talking financially).
I lift my ghoptu to you Stan Lee, with absolutely no tears.
A life very well lived!!! Rest in peace Stan Lee.
My Spidey senses will never be the same. He will be missed.
Boldly Go, Stan…Boldly Go…
marvel had a decent ‘trek’ comics run during the 80s post ‘khan/search’.
I cried and laughed for joy when I watched Trek Isolation, A Great Responsibility