Stan Lee Black Panther

SPOILER ALERT: This obviously contains a SPOILER for ‘Black Panther’ so proceed with caution.

Stan Lee has made cameos in a large number of Marvel movies and TV shows, including those based on characters he had no hand in creating (the two ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ films, even in animated form in ‘Big Hero 6’).  But Black Panther is definitely a character created by Lee, along with longtime collaborator Jack Kirby and is one of the most significant, being the first black superhero in comics.  So it’s absolutely fitting that he once again returns to the big screen for a cameo in the film which opens today.

If you want to know how Lee appears in the film, proceed.  If not, turn back.

Stan pops up during T’Challa’s mission to South Korea.  He, Nakia and Okoye infiltrate an underground casino in order to track down Ulysses Klaue and T’Challa steps up to the craps table.  However, just after he throws the dice, he spies Everett K. Ross and realizes his mission is compromised.  He steps away from the table to speak to him, not realizing he cast a huge winning roll.

After he steps away, Lee pops up as another gambler at the table and offers to “hold those chips” until the King of Wakanda returns.  This, of course, never happens.

On the one hand, the casino setting is in keeping with some of his more hedonistic appearances in recent films (drunk vet in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, host at a strip club in ‘Deadpool’).  At the same time, as on the nose as the cameo is, it feels natural in the film, doesn’t break the fourth wall and isn’t as hammy as some of his other cameos.  Fans should be happy!

Ryan Coogler directed ‘Black Panther’ and co-wrote it with Joe Robert Cole.  The film stars Chadwick Boseman, Angela Bassett, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker and Letitia Wright.  It is in theaters now!