It’s definitely a weird deal to talk about, but it seems that Marvel has acquired the rights to bring Stan Lee, who passed away in 2018, back to life through archival footage and digital technology. If you’re wondering what exactly this is all about, it seems that Marvel has signed a 20-year deal with Stan Lee Universe, which is a venture of Genius Brand International and POW! Entertainment. It lets them license the use of his name and likeness in any future film or TV production, as well as Disney theme parks, “experiences,” and merchandising.
The CEO of Genius Brands, Andy Heyward, has shared the following statement on the decision to make this deal and revive the beloved comic creator, who quickly became the face of Marvel, through digital means.
It really ensures that Stan, through digital technology and archival footage and other forms, will live in the most important venue, the Marvel movies, and Disney theme parks. It’s a broad deal.Andy Heyward
Stan Lee‘s cameos in the various Marvel films, not just Marvel Studios’ MCU, were a staple and they have found indirect ways to mention the comic creator with small tributes to the actor without actually including him. Of course, it’s unclear if he’ll actually return as a digital character in these films. Plus, it’s not certain people will feel comfortable seeing a digital double of Lee on the silver screen. Best case, they might include his likeness in the background like how the Netflix shows had him on posters. Heyward highlights:
The audience revered Stan, and if it’s done with taste and class, and respectful of who he was, [uses of his likeness] will be welcomed. He is a beloved personality, and long after you and I are gone, he will remain the essence of Marvel.Andy Heyward
The deal is still a strange one, as Stan Lee Universe was originally founded by Gill Champion and Arthur Lieberman with the comic creator to “steward” the legacy he left behind. It’s unclear just how detailed the dealing is and if they have to sign off on the use of his likeness, but we’ll have to see how this deal pans out. They likely may have also made a deal due to existing merchandise using Lee‘s likeness.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter