Stan Lee almost didn’t make it out of Guardians of the Galaxy alive. Well, his character, at least.
Appearing on the screenwriting podcast The Q&A with Jeff Goldmsith, filmmaker James Gunn divulged the details of his original plans for Lee’s signature cameo. In the final edit, Lee is a ladies man on Xandar, but he almost lost his head in a completely different kind of scene.
Gunn reiterated that Lee was originally going to be on display in one of the Collector’s boxes, and he would have flipped Groot the bird. “And we actually did two different versions,” the director said. “We did one where Stan Lee was just sitting there, and one where he looked at Groot and just gave him the finger. But it wasn’t really Stan Lee, because we were in England, and Stan’s an older gentleman, and he couldn’t make the trip. So we did it with a double. And then we were going to digitally replace his head with Stan’s head, which we were going to shoot later.”
Speaking of Lee’s head, it could have made another appearance apart from his body later on, if Gunn had is way.
“But we weren’t sure if we should add it,” he said. “Kevin [Feige] thought it was a little bit too jokey. And then also we very clearly saw Stan Lee’s box exploding, when the thing explodes. And I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if Stan Lee’ — these are the kind of ideas that I would come up with and Marvel would say I think that’s Super James Gunn — but Stan Lee’s head is rolling into frame.’ And anyway, so we didn’t do that.”