The ongoing narrative that runs through all of the MCU films has introduced us to many remarkable characters, each caught up in their own incredible (often coinciding) adventures. The one person whose tale has not been properly told though is the unnamed gentleman played by Stan Lee. Glimpsed in every one of the movies, this guy has clearly travelled through time and across space, has held military positions and other less decorated jobs. This is his amazing story:
Born in 1860, the year that Lincoln became president, our hero did well at school and joined the army in his late teens. He saw action in the Spanish and Philippine wars and the Boxer Rebellion before becoming a general in WW1. During WW2 he was a dignitary at an event were Captain America was to be presented but didn’t get so see The First Avenger as Captain Rogers did not show up (Captain America: The First Avenger). The man’s only other brush with our regular heroes around this time was when he sat next to Howard Stark and his butler Jarvis at a shoe shine stand in New York (Agent Carter).
Tragically, shortly after this, our guy was present at the atomic weapons test that opened the Zero Matter rift and like many of those in attendance was sucked in to oblivion (Agent Carter). There he stayed in suspended animation until the Zero Matter experiments of Abner Croit and Marcus Daniels (seen later in Agents of SHIELD) brought him back to our dimension in the late 1990s.
Now a man out of time, he returned to peacekeeping and faked his way into the NYPD. Little is know of what he did at this time but his picture still hangs on the wall of a police station in Hell’s Kitchen (Daredevil, Jessica Jones). Interested in modern warfare and using his natural magnetism with young ladies the man later managed to get into a party hosted by Stark Industries posing as Hugh Hefner (Iron Man) but not long after this he was taken ill after drinking a soda poisoned with the blood of the Hulk (The Incredible Hulk).
While convalescing he began to suspect his illness was in some way linked to the appearance of enhanced heroes in America and on recovery began to focus more intently on Tony Stark who had publicly announced that he was Iron Man. Managing again to get into an event Stark was attending, this time pretending to be Larry King, was unable to really get anything but a fleeting meeting with the man (Iron Man 2). When he heard of a strange hammer that had fallen to the ground in New Mexico he correctly assumed this too may be something to do superheroes and headed off to check it out (Thor).
Still unable to get close enough to hang out with superheroes but keen to do so, the man moved to New York – planning at some stage to inveigle his way into the newly built Stark Tower. As a result he was there when the Chitauri attacked and early on was interviewed on TV about the invasion. Not wanting anyone to suspect anything about his growing fanboy obsession with Iron Man and his new band of superhero friends, he denied that he even believed they were real (Avengers). Unfortunately he was once again to get caught up in this world in a way he didn’t want when an escaping Chitauri snatched him up and took him into outer space through the wormhole.
Again, the details on what went on following this are unknown but certainly he survived and settled for some time on the planet Xandar (Guardians of the Galaxy) before hitching a lift home on a Ravager ship during one of their regular trips to Earth. Once back the man, becoming increasingly unstable and delusional following his ordeals, wandered aimlessly around the US only really finding purpose when he was spending time around beautiful young women. Oddly the ladies were equally keen to spend time with him and at this time he was involved in judging regional beauty pageants (Iron Man 3), often travelling the country on trains with twenty something girls on his arms (Agents of SHIELD).
Unfortunately insanity properly took hold and it took a brief stay in a mental health hospital (Thor: The Dark World) to get him back to some semblance of normality. The man was able to function in society but still suffered bouts of confusion and memory loss. He briefly found work as a security guard but was fired from this after someone stole something from the Captain America exhibit on his watch (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
Sometime later, in an extended period of lucidity, he did finally succeed in getting into a Stark party but got hideously and bewilderingly drunk on Asgardian liquor (Avengers: Age of Ultron) which sent him into a spiral of dangerous drinking. As a result the only work he could get for some time was in bars (Ant-Man).
Unfortunately the alcohol only made his fragile state of mind and amnesia worse and the next time he met Tony Stark, while driving for FedEx, he couldn’t remember him at all or even pronounce his name (Captain America: Civil War).
Yet, oddly, the man continued to be drawn toward superheroes still finding himself regularly in proximity to them through no fault or intention of his own. Often he was even oblivious to this as with the time newly powered wizard Doctor Strange was thrown against the side of a bus he was riding in not even causing him to look up from his book (Doctor Strange). This series of weird coincidences caught the eye of a race of cosmic beings called The Watchers whose self appointed job it was to observe significant events going on around the universe. Curious as to his connection to the emergence of many new powered people on Earth these Watchers transported the man to their realm in outer space and cured him of his amnesia so that he could report on all that he had seen and experienced. (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). This happened on a number of occasions but inconsiderate of mere humans this superior race paid little attention to this man’s welfare often abandoning him in various interplanetary locations before bothering him to transport him home. This left him irritable with superheroes when on Earth, such as when he witnessed Spider-Man dealing with an apparent car thief (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and in some cases deserted on hostile planets, forced to pick up work like barbering for barbarians (Thor: Ragnarok) until they got round to sending him back to his own planet. Once done with him and to show some recognition of the service he had paid them they eventually left him alone but with a substantial amount of Earth currency for his troubles.
While his memories were restored though the addictive personality he had developed remained and he spent most of the money left him in various international casinos (Black Panther). Strapped for cash once again and following an incident where his love of driving was thwarted when his car shrank (Ant-Man and the Wasp) our man found work driving a school bus (Infinity War) but following sad events it may be that this is where the story ends.
Three more sightings are possible though greater things may await.