The passing of Stan Lee on Monday immediately left a Thanos-like void in the universe, not to mention a huge spiritual hole in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, known affectionately and necessarily as the MCU. Comic book fans everywhere flocked to social media, and it’s clear that Lee’s influence also reverberated within the hip-hop realm. At age 95, his legacy extended deep throughout not only comic books themselves but also film and TV that has endured through decades and cinematic phases with no signs of slowing.
To that effect, Lee’s collaborators are showing an outpouring of emotion, and that includes several core members of the MCU, who are all paying tribute to the man who began it all. Marvel Studios President and CEO Kevin Feige addressed the matter without saying goodbye. “No one has had more of an impact on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee,” Feige tweeted. “Stan leaves an extraordinary legacy that will outlive us all.”
Chris Evans, a.k.a. “Captain America,” then kicked off a stream of effusive tweets from MCU actors and directors. In doing so, Evans concluded with Lee’s own signature sign off: “Excelsior!!”
Sebastian Stan, who plays Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes, also thanked “great legend” Lee while adding, “I wouldn’t be here without you.”
Robert Downey Jr., whose career was undeniably resurrected by embodying Iron Man, Instagrammed a photo of himself with Lee in front of a green screen. “I owe it all to you,” Downey recognized. “Rest in peace Stan.”
Anthony Mackie, who files high as Falcon, got real. “You were a man before your time,” he tweeted. “[N]ow it feels like you are gone before your time.”
Avengers: Infinity War directors the Russo Brothers thanked Lee for “filling our childhoods with such joy.”
Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson bid Lee a “[g]oodnight.”
In the wake of Lee’s death, Mallrats (directed by Kevin Smith) is now trending due to Lee’s cameo, in which he doled out life-enriching advice to Brody. On that note, Smith paid tribute to his hero on Instagram for “showing me it’s always better to be a hero instead of a villain.”
View this post on Instagram
This is how I’ll always see you, @therealstanlee: as our benevolent leader and king, smiling down from your eternal throne on the generations of imaginations you fed and inspired. You were the first creator whose voice I knew before I’d ever actually heard it. You dreamed up some of my favorite modern myths and created characters that instilled in me a moral barometer, teaching me right from wrong and showing me it’s always better to be a hero instead of a villain. Your characters represented us: yes, they had extraordinary, unbelievable abilities, but they were also reflections of a world we knew, where a Spider-Man is really just a boy who wants to help. You showed me how to interact with the audience whenever you stepped onto Stan’s Soapbox to reach out to the readers. You showed me how to advocate for my field beyond the actual art itself whenever you tub thumped for comic books outside of the medium. It was never enough for you to simply make a comic because you were a true salesman at heart. So you not only sold comics, you sold me *on* comics – so much so that I built a life and career around your dreams and ideals. When you did Mallrats with us, you not only made a lifelong fan’s dream come true, you also lent me comic book credibility that I still get to spend today. And whether it was for @comicbookmenamc or @yogahosers, whenever I asked to borrow your heat again, you were always there for me with a smile. Your love story with Joanie and your long, happy marriage always shined as an example of what I wanted for my personal life. I long admired (and emulated) your kindness and patience and sense of humor when dealing with your public. Outside of my parents, you were the one adult who gave me the most useful life skills I still use today. Thank you, Stan, for making me not only the boy I was but also the man I am today. You had great power and you always used it responsibly, fostering billions of dreamers who all know your name – a name written in the stars for all time. You were not just the literary titan of comic books, you were our modern day Mark Twain. I will miss you all my days, my friend and hero. Excelsior forevermore. #KevinSmith #StanLee
Outside the MCU proper, Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, who have played Deadpool and Wolverine, respectively, also paid tribute.