Stan “The Man” Lee is the very definition of a living legend. In his youth at what would become Marvel Comics, Lee – with the help of frequent collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko – created some of the most iconic comic book characters of all time. Spider-Man, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Ant-Man, Daredevil, Thor, Loki, Doctor Doom, Galactus, The X-Men, Nick Fury, Black Panther, Kingpin, Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, Peggy Carter… The list of characters he created just goes on and on and on. And of course a large number of them have now ended up enthralling a brand new generation as live-action characters in movies from Fox, Sony and Marvel themselves.
And you’ve probably noticed that Stan Lee is in nearly all of them, giving what as become an almost traditional cameo appearance in the films. But now finally, instead of just showing up as some comedic gag in a comic book movie, Lee is getting the spotlight all to himself as Twentieth Century Fox has bought the cinematic rights to the comic book pioneer’s life and plan to develop a biopic on him.
Lee’s story of going from being a child of Romanian-born Jewish immigrant parents living out a poor life in 1920’s New York, to being one of the most recognizable and beloved personalities of modern pop culture is certainly an intriguing one. There are several moments in his life that are ripe for the biopic treatment. Like the fact that as a young man he was about to quit the comic book business and so on the advice of his wife decided to just go crazy with his creations as he had nothing to lose, and instead revamped entire industry with his far more relatable and human characters. Or maybe the way he revolutionized several aspects of the comic book publishing industry itself, from giving credit to all creators and pioneering the “Marvel method” which essentially made artists as co-plotters. All of these and more are stories worthy of being told. But Fox isn’t telling any of those stories though.
In a very unexpected twist, THR reports that Fox’s biopic will in fact not be factual, but rather “a period action-adventure movie”. Yes, you read that correctly. The studio apparently want to create a 1970’s set romp “in the tone of Kingsman: The Secret Service or, as one insider put it, “Roger Moore’s 007.”” Lee – or whomever they get to play his younger version – will be the main character in this story, a dapper hero who will seemingly quip one-liners and flirt with ladies as he takes down larger-than-life evildoers.
And I genuinely have no idea what to make of this news. Fox is treating it pretty serious though, having already tapped Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey (Twilight series, The Maze Runner series) to produce. It’s still very early days on this production though, as no writer or director is attached yet. If Fox is willing to listen though, I have a very intriguing pitch for them: What if the young Stan Lee was actually this international action hero who just used his pop culture fame as a cover to travel around the world and actually do his real job of saving it. Oh wait, somebody else is already doing that.
Last Updated: September 15, 2016