While looking at the cast of The Incredible Hulk I say Stan Lee was cast as:

"Milwaukee Man Drinking From Bottle"

I've noticed he plays an extra in the Iron Man, X-Men, Spider Man films as well as other Marvel films.

Why does he cast himself as an extra in a lot of his films he's involved with producing? Is it just a bit of joke just to see do people notice him?

  • 34
    Because he can. Because he's old. Because he's rich. Because he's the creator of most of the characters. Because it's fun. Any or all of the above.
    – wbogacz
    Mar 6, 2013 at 17:58
  • 2
    Also, everybody who watches these films knows who he is. Everyone notices him. He's a self-promoter.
    – wbogacz
    Mar 6, 2013 at 18:05
  • 3
    Edited on a technicality as they aren't his movies. I'm such a stickler for detail xD
    – Tablemaker
    Mar 6, 2013 at 18:27
  • 3
    There is a rumour that he is actually 'The Watcher'
    – user33730
    Apr 22, 2016 at 2:06
  • 2
    @fabriced Will somebody PLEASE think of the children! #Hysteria
    – Gusdor
    Nov 7, 2016 at 13:08

2 Answers 2


Stan Lee isn't casting himself in these cameos - it's a tradition which started back in 1989 with one of the original TV Hulk spin-off movies, one that has endured ever since.

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From The Trial of the Incredible Hulk - 1989

He may have a producer credit on the Marvel movies, but his involvement doesn't go any deeper than just being a beloved figurehead - these cameos are homages by the filmmakers.

A comprehensive list of his cameo appearances, plus images, can be found here.

Quoting Lee himself:

"It’s almost scary ‘cause they just give me a date. They’ll say, "Stan, come over next Thursday for your cameo," but they don’t tell me what it is. So, I show up and they say, "Go to wardrobe." In wardrobe, they say, "We want to get you a white shirt and a green sweater and a black zippered jacket," and I’ll say, "Don’t bother, I’m wearing one." And then, they say, "But, you can’t wear yours!," and they look around and get me the exact same thing, but I’m not allowed to wear my own. And I still don’t know what my role will be. I go on the set and one minute before we’re gonna shoot, the director says, "Okay, Stan, this is what I want you to do. So, I don’t know what is expected of me, until I get there, but of course, I do it magnificently."

Unconfirmed reports suggest that he will be a beauty contest Judge in Iron Man 3 and a London bus driver in Thor: The Dark World.

  • 6
    how dare you spoil the beauty contest scene in IM3, probably the most important scene of all!
    – Tablemaker
    Mar 6, 2013 at 19:12
  • BTW, that quote from Stan Lee is from this interview (where he is asked about his Iron Man 3 cameo)
    – Oliver_C
    Mar 7, 2013 at 11:29
  • 1
    That psycho role was better then expected London bus driver.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Jan 30, 2014 at 13:52
  • "but of course, I do it magnificently" true as always Nov 16, 2018 at 10:13

Because he is a watcher or works for them. Likely Uatu, the watcher that's assigned to watch Earth. Confirmed by Marvel in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

Marvel chief Kevin Feige has endorsed the popular fan theory that Stan Lee is playing the same character in all of his MCU roles. http://screenrant.com/stan-lee-mcu-cameo-theory-marvel-kevin-feige/

“Yes, we always thought it would be fun. Stan Lee clearly exists, you know, above and apart from the reality of all the films. So the notion that he could be sitting there on a cosmic pit stop during the jump gate sequence in Guardians was something very fun – James had that idea and we shot that cameo and loved it so much, you know, you see it a couple of times in the movie. It wasn’t in for a long time and we put it back in towards the end of the process where he references that time he was a Federal Express agent – we thought it would be fun to put that in there because that really says, so wait a minute, he’s this same character who’s popped up in all these films.”

  • 1
    This in-universe factoid is certainly an interesting tidbit, but seems more of an afterthought and not too related to why he was originally cast in all those roles. The answer seems much less related to this question here than to that one.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 29, 2017 at 20:33

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