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By now, every True Believer knows that two things are constant in the films from Marvel Studios: 1.) There is always at least one post-credits scene. 2.) There is a Stan Lee cameo somewhere in the movie. The company’s most recent offering ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ followed these guidelines, but director James Gunn revealed that the Generalissimo originally had a different scene than the one in the final cut of the film. Many outlets reported earlier this week that the filmmaker shared at this year’s Dragon Con that the first cameo had vetoed by Disney, however, he has since clarified his remarks, which were apparently misunderstood.

As his own Throwback Thursday, Gunn shared a picture on Instagram from the day when they shot Lee’s original cameo, which saw him as part of The Collector’s collection along with Adam Warlock’s cocoon, a Dark Elf, a Chitauri soldier, Cosmo, and Howard the Duck. In the picture below, you can see the Marvel Comics legend’s stunt double in a display case, followed by the director’s explanation for cutting the scene, which was not a result of an interception from the House of Mouse:

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At a panel on Sunday at Dragoncon, I talked about a deleted @realstanlee cameo in Guardians, and promised the folks there I’d post a photo on Instagram – so here it is! As you can see, this is not Stan, but a double. In the original cut of the film, when the Guardians enter the Collector’s museum, Rocket looks over and sees Cosmo the dog in one display case, Quill looks over into another display case and is surprised by a tentacle slapping against the glass, and Groot looks over and sees, in another display case, Stan Lee. In one take, Stan Lee just slowly turns up his finger, flipping off Groot. We shot this footage with a Stan Lee double because Stan wasn’t able to come to the UK at the time. The plan was to shoot Stan in the same lighting when I was back in LA, and we’d digitally replace the double’s head with Stan’s actual head (not quite as difficult as it sounds). Although I thought the cameo was funny, I thought the flipping off joke was too similar to the moment earlier in the film where Quill flips off the Nova Corps, so I excised that part of it immediately. A couple of the guys at Marvel thought Stan Lee in a case was too broad of a joke in general, and that it took the audience out of the movie. I argued about it for a bit, but we ended up not keeping it in the film. In a pretty typical case of Internet-journalism-telephone, articles online yesterday said that Disney forbade the scene because of standards. However, that’s incorrect – no one at Disney ever even saw the scene, and it was cut solely for creative reasons.

What do you think about Stan Lee’s original cameo from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’? Would you have preferred this one to the scene that ended up in the final cut of the film? Or do you agree that it would have taken the audience out of the movie if it had been left in? Share your thoughts in the comment section.