If a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is released without a cameo from Marvel titan Stan Lee, does it even happen? After maybe confirming a long-standing fan theory with his cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Spider-Man co-creator is taking a step back from MCU mythology. The Stan Lee cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn't add to any new information to the theory that Lee is a Watcher in the MCU, but it does give him a brand new role in the franchise.
Lee's cameo in Homecoming looks like a return to form, but it does feature one major divergence from a lot of Lee's older MCU cameos: a character. Instead of playing an unnamed UPS worker (Civil War) or a postman (Fantastic Four), in Spider-Man: Homecoming Lee plays Gary. Gary is a New York resident who watches as Spider-Man attempts to stop a grand theft auto. Only problem is, Spidey mistakes the owner of the car for a criminal and the car alarm goes off in the struggle, causing the neighbors to complain. Gary, aka Lee, is one such neighbor. "Don't make me come down there," he yells at the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. (Jeez, what's a hero to do to get a little respect?)
This is actually Lee's second cameo associated with the newest Spider-Man movie. The comic book writer also appeared in a special Spider-Man: Homecoming commercial that aired during the NBA Finals, where he played "Old Man on Street" (according to IMDB) who recognized Spidey as he stopped two robbers from taking a television.
By all accounts, Lee has enjoyed working with the new Peter Parker, Tom Holland, telling an audience at Denver Comic-Con, via Cosmic Booknews, "I can't believe it. It's as if we created a living being to be Spider-Man, and it turned out to be Tom." That's high praise, especially coming from a man who has also filmed cameos with two other Spider-Man actors (Spider-Man's Tobey Maguire and The Amazing Spider-Man's Andrew Garfield). Then again, according to a Facebook post from GOTG director James Gunn, who introduced Lee to Holland on set, Lee's first words to the new Spidey were, "Everyone says you're great! Personally, I don't see it." Never change, Stan Lee, never change.