Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse arrives in just a couple of weeks, and while we're mostly focused on the glowing reviews and massive buzz surrounding this innovative new take on Spidey, there is one very bittersweet note we can't escape: It will be the first Stan Lee superhero cameo since his passing earlier this month.
Lee, who passed away on November 12 at the age of 95, filmed and recorded several cameo appearances in various films before his death, so we can expect to see and hear him at the movies at least into next year, when Avengers 4 and Captain Marvel will hit theaters. He will also close out 2018 with two memorable appearances, including one in Ralph Breaks the Internet and another in Into the Spider-Verse which might actually turn out to be one of his most substantial.
In a new interview with Fandango, producers Phil Lord (who's also a co-writer) and Chris Miller explained why they felt the need to give Lee a meatier cameo than some of his other film appearances have offered, and it all ties back to the legacy of the Spider-Man character.
"I remember when we talked about it, we said, 'You know, he's so integral to the spirit of this movie that we don't want to just give him a little passing cameo,'" Miller said. "We wanted him to be more important and carry some emotional weight to the movie."
So, in that spirit, Lee is the man who hands over the Spider-suit in the film.
"Essentially we really thought since he was the guy who created the character with Steve Ditko that he should really give him something important like a talisman. So he gives him the spider suit, and says, 'There's no give backs.' And we thought that was really important."
Lee's cameos, even the briefest ones, have always been memorable, but there's no way of avoiding the extra weight they'll be given in the coming months. We're going to be seeing Lee's name splashed across the credits in a different light, and his voice and presence will affect us all in ways they didn't before. So, seeing him handling a Spider-suit, even in animated form, might produce more than a few tissues in the audience. That's the way it should be.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse arrives December 14.