Comic book legend Stan Lee is the God of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and he's got the cameos to prove it. From playing a Hugh Hefner lookalike in Iron Man to a limo driver in an episode of The Runaways, Lee has done it all while appearing in almost every single Marvel adaptation. Naturally, a Stan Lee cameo in Black Panther was expected, though it was also approached with a rare sense of trepidation from fans. How would Lee, a white man, make a cameo in a film that takes place in the fictional African country of Wakanda, a country untouched by colonialism? It turns out that the fans needn't have worried. Small spoilers ahead! The Stan Lee cameo in Black Panther doesn't take place in Wakanda at all, but in South Korea.
Black Panther marks a huge step forward in diversifying the MCU. Not only does the film mark the franchise's first starring black superhero, it is also the first Marvel adaptation with a majority non-white cast. Furthermore, it is the first Earth-bound MCU installment that does not take place in the United States. Wakanda, the country of Black Panther, is crucial to the storytelling in the film, and part of the country's history is that it has been kept hidden from foreigners — specifically white foreigners. Naturally, fans eager to see the groundbreaking movie were nervous when it came to Lee's traditional cameo.
After months of speculation, fans can finally put their fears to rest knowing that Lee shows up not in Wakanda, but in a South Korean casino, where he crosses paths with T'Challa. The Wakandan King is on a mission to track down Ulysses Klaue, one of the few white characters in the film, and his search leads him, Nakia, and Okoye to Korea. There, while working undercover, he goes up to a table next to...Stan Lee. And, when T'Challa abandons his gambling to complete his mission, Lee's character sneakily steals his chips.
Lee's cameo in Black Panther is another quirky, funny appearance from the Marvel creator, but he recently joked that he wished he'd gotten the chance to have more of an active role this time around. "I'm a little disappointed in my Black Panther cameo," Lee told the crowd at ACE Comic-Con, via Comicbook. "I had wanted a great fight scene where I fight the Black Panther to a standstill. I didn't get that, but I want you to see the movie anyway."
During productions, some fans worried that health issues would keep Lee from making his cameo. At 95, Lee has suffered a few scares. Most recently he spent a night in the hospital in February, just a few days after the Black Panther premiere. But thankfully, he's OK. "All I really want to do is tell you that I'm feeling great," Lee told ABC's Eyewitness News after he was released from the hospital. "I'm glad I spent that evening in the hospital. It did me a lot of good," he added, before joking, "It probably did my fans a lot of good. It kept me off their backs for the evening."
To ensure the MCU will include new Lee cameos for years to come, Lee has already filmed four cameos for future films. "A couple of months ago in Atlanta, he flew down and we shot four in one day — for four various projects," Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige told CinemaBlend at the Civil War premiere in September of 2016. This was around the same time that Thor: Ragnarok was wrapping up production, meaning that, in addition to Black Panther, Lee has presumably already filmed cameos for Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp and the untiled Avengers 4 movie.
Who knows, depending on how quickly Marvel Studios gets Black Panther 2 up and running, fans might just live to see Lee step foot in Wakanda after all.