IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Stan Lee Talks 'With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story,' 'The Avengers,' 'The Amazing Spider-Man' and More.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:01 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Stan Lee Talks 'With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story,' 'The Avengers,' 'The Amazing Spider-Man' and More.

The childhood dreams of millions of fanboys will finally come true on May 4th when Disney and Marvel Studios releases the highly anticipated soon-to-be summer blockbuster The Avengers. The film marks the culmination of a promise that began when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) first appeared in Iron Man, thus creating the cinematic Marvel universe, bridging together several different film franchises to create one world where all of Marvel’s on-screen characters would exist. This trend continued with Iron Man 2, which introduced Black Widow (Scralett Johansson), followed by Thor, which introduced the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and inevitably Captain America: The Fist Avenger, introducing Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).

In honor of The Avengers finally assembling on the big screen, Epix is sponsoring an event called Marvel Heroes Weekend April 27th – 29th, which will be hosted by none other than comic book legend and Marvel Comics godfather Stan “The Man” Lee. The three day marathon will feature Iron Man 2, Thor, the television premiere of Captain America: The First Avenger, as well as the world premiere of With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, a documentary about the man behind the “House of Ideas.” As all “true believers” know, Lee is responsible for creating some of the most beloved comic book characters of all time including Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Silver Surfer, Daredevil, and The Avengers, as well as changing the comic book landscape and impacting the industry he practically invented.

I must be on a roll because I recently spoke to the great Adam West (Batman), and to follow that up just a few weeks later by meeting the legendary Stan Lee … well, I think I’ve died and gone to geek heaven! I caught up with the iconic Lee earlier this week in Los Angeles at a luncheon thrown by the Epix Network to promote their upcoming Marvel Heroes Weekend. I had the rare pleasure and complete honor of sitting down with Stan Lee and chatting with him for a few minutes about comic books, movies, his new documentary, Marvel Heroes Weekend, Epix, The Avengers, what heroes he’d like to see appear in the sequel, what Marvel characters he thinks should have their own film, what Marvel characters should get film reboots, The Amazing Spider-Man, his famous movie cameos, the success of the Marvel films, and his all-time favorite character that he created.

Here is what the living legend had to say:

IAR: To begin with, I feel like anyone who has grown up loving Marvel Comics already knows a lot about you and your life. What do you think hard core fans can learn about you from watching the new documentary, With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story?

Stan Lee: Well you’ll probably just see a little bit of my wife and a little bit of me when I was very young, which you don’t know about. That is about it. I think with everything else, you could have written the movie yourself.

Was it fun for you to go back and look at your life?

Lee: No, not really, they kept interviewing me when I had work to do and I would say, make it fast will you. I never have time for anything but I enjoyed doing it.

Are you excited that it is premiering on Epix’s Marvel Heroes Weekend and what do you think about the network’s idea to show Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger the weekend before The Avengers opens in theaters?

Lee: I think it is a great idea. When is it going to be? I don’t even know.

It’s actually happening this weekend.

Lee: It’s this weekend? Oh well, that is great.

When you ran Marvel you were the king of marketing and cross-promotion, so when you heard about Epix presenting Marvel Heroes Weekend what did you think of the idea?

Lee: I love Epix, and I love what they are trying to do. They are very professional and they are good at marketing, merchandising and promoting. I think they will do very well.

I know you had a chance to attend the premiere of The Avengers a few weeks ago, what did you think of the film?

Lee: Yes, I loved it. Did you see it yet? It’s a wonderful movie. It’s eye candy, a great story, and a chance to see four or five or six heroes all together.

Did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams that there would be a live-action version of The Avengers?

Lee: I never imagined I’d see any of my characters become movies. But this was a logical thing to do. It was smart. I’m amazed that DC didn’t beat us to it with the Justice League. But you’ve got to hand it to Marvel.

Are you impressed with what Marvel Studios has been able to do, essentially teasing The Avengers all the way back in the first Iron Man film?

Lee: Yes, that was very smart. And they do that with every movie, they give you a little hint of what’s going to come next.

Since Marvel Studios has established one coherent cinematic universe since Iron Man, and you have had a different cameo in each of those films, do your cameos connect in the on-screen Marvel universe? Are you the same character in each film or are you playing different roles?

Lee: To tell you the truth, it comes down to whatever the director feels like having me do and they don’t check with each other. All I do is I get a call saying, “Be at the set at 10:00AM tomorrow morning, we have your cameo.” I never know what it’ll be. I go there, they tell me what to do, I do it and I get the hell home.

What character would you most like to see added to The Avengers team for the inevitable sequel?

Lee: Oh I’d be happy if they add the Black Panther and maybe Dr. Strange. Sooner or later they will do movies of both of them.

Well, that was actually my next question, which Marvel character would you most like to see get his or her own movie next?

Lee: Those two and probably Ant-Man, which I think they are working on. Maybe I’ll play a little role in that.

What is your opinion on The Amazing Spider-Man and the idea of rebooting the series so soon?

Lee: I think it will be great. Andrew Garfield is SO good. Even though he doesn’t look like Tobey (Maguire), he is perfect for Spider-Man/Peter Parker. The movie is a good movie and wait till you see my cameo. It’s very funny.

Can you give me a little hint about your cameo?

Lee: No, they would kill me but it is a funny one.

There has been some talk about 20th Century Fox rebooting The Fantastic Four and Daredevil series, what is your opinion on that?

Lee: I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to reboot The FF, and Daredevil, those two. Because Daredevil didn’t do as well as I hoped it would. Yet I love the character so I would love to see him rebooted.

Of all the amazing characters that you have created, which one is your favorite?

Lee: I love the Silver Surfer but I love them all. I love Iron Man, especially with Robert Downey playing the role. I love Spider-Man of course, and Thor. I love them all. I’m very broadminded about that.

Finally, have you personally been at all surprised by the success of the Marvel based films and the longevity of the characters that your created?

Lee: No not at all, I’m amazed they aren’t even more successful because they are such wonderful characters. We are so lucky. We have gotten the best directors, the best screenwriters, the best actors; we have great characters that have been popular over the years, so why wouldn’t the movies be successful? If you put it all together the right way it has to work!

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story premieres April 27th on Epix.

Marvel Heroes Weekend hosted by Stan Lee runs April 27th – 29th on Epix.

To listen to our exclusive interview with Stan Lee in its entirety, please click on the audio player below.

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