Post Infinity War: Does Stan Lee Hold the Key to the Post-Fox Merger MCU?

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Stan Lee's role in MCU

First and foremost: If you haven't seen AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and/or ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, you're probably not even reading this article, so the whole "Spoiler Warning" thing should be a moot point. However, on the microscopic chance that you've just stepped in from Taured and are thus unaware of these MCU events, we'll say it anyway: We're going to talk as though we've all been to the films here. So there, you've been warned.

Since the Marvel films began hitting the screens (and even before they were done as part of a cohesive universe), the Face of Marvel has always made an appearance. But as soon as the films became connected, fans began to theorize if the Stan Lee we saw in one movie was the same we saw in another movie. Over a year ago, in fact, showrunner Kevin Feige confirmed that these characters were, indeed, the same character, portrayed by Stan. In GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY V2 we see him chatting with a group of Watchers, mentioning his one time as a Federal Express agent. Some have theorized that Lee is, in fact, a Watcher, explaining why he's always near or around the action happening in the film.

However, it's what Kevin Feige says in his confirmation that stands out now, particularly in light of the events of INFINITY WAR and all those deaths. Yes, Thanos wiped out half the population of the universe with the snap of a finger, taking numerous favorite characters with him. Now that's a pretty cosmic-level catastrophe, and it's going to take a fairly cosmic-level response to put things right. So while there are several theories about how Marvel is going to "fix" this, most of which revolve around Doctor Strange, here in the real world something of equal import happened.

Disney moved forward with their acquisition of 20th Century Fox. That brings several Marvel properties into the mix that had been hitherto untouchable because of licensing agreements, notably the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.

But how can these franchises be folded into the MCU and retain their historical places? The X-Men have been around a while, as should have the Fantastic Four.

What could happen is a rebooting of the Marvel Universe, via the use of the Infinity Stones. And that's where Stan Lee comes in. To quote Feige, "Stan Lee clearly exists, you know, above and apart from the reality of all the films." I've italicized a portion of that for emphasis: above and beyond. Because there exists a character in the Marvel Universe who is more powerful than anyone else.

Meet "The One Above All." Essentially, this is God in the Marvel Universe, the All-Creator.

What If...? (Yeah, we let it hang for a moment, because it's one of our favorite Marvel titles) What if this is actually Stan Lee's character -- the One Above All. Yes, Feige's comment probably should be taken as Stan Lee is "above and apart" from the movies, because he really exists. But what if he meant more than that? What if Stan Lee exists "above and beyond" all the other characters in the film, because he's truly the One Above All?

While it would take a lot to get his attention, it wouldn't take much afterward for him to put things aright -- and a-fresh, complete with an Elon Musk-like Reed Richards and a contemporary history of X-Men and mutants.

He could do it with the snap of his fingers.