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The Stan Lee Parody We Probably Won't See In The Boys Season 3

Though the twists on classic superheroes seen in Amazon Studios' The Boys can be harsh, it's all an expression of showrunner Eric Kripke's love for the superhero genre, in the spirit of satire. Homelander (Antony Starr), for instance, is an obvious parody of Superman, and shows what someone with the Kryptonian's godlike powers might actually act like. It's an effective and entertaining way to wax poetic on themes of corruption, power, and greed — and one that honors the source material by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, despite the many differences.

One of these differences is a character that's been entirely excluded from the show's first two seasons. Rather than a warped take on a superhero, this character is The Boys' analogue of a real person, though it is someone closely related to the superhero genre: Stan Lee. The man garnered many nicknames for himself over the years, but the "father of Marvel" is possibly the most apt, as he was integral in establishing Marvel Comics as we know it today and co-creating characters like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

Though Lee had long been a well-known name, the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe also made him a well-known face courtesy of his many cameos. Indeed, his public persona turned out to be as charming as all the snappy dialogue he'd ever written in comics. Ennis and Robertson couldn't pass up the opportunity to parody him after that, and so it was "the Legend" was born.

"Ain't nothin' more or less than the Legend."

No matter how horrendous the superheroes — or "Supes" — of The Boys are behind the scenes, Vought International has the magical corporate touch needed to hide or even erase their lapses. In the show, this is normally achieved through some expert PR and social media manipulation, but Vought has been around for a while, and digital tools weren't always available to the company. That's where the Legend comes in.

Back in the comic universe's 1950s, the Legend began writing comic books for Vought, detailing the Supes' backstories and chronicling their heroic exploits. What better way could there have been to establish a foundational love for Vought's superstars than that? The ongoing proof is in the pudding, as the public generally has no idea what their favorite heroes are up to when nobody's watching — or when nobody lives to tell the tale.

Time isn't as kind to the Legend as it is to the Supes' public image. When The Boys meet up with him in issue #7, he's an insatiably horny and unforgivably racist old man living beneath a comic book store. He's helpful as an informant to the team, but the Legend isn't a pleasant man to look at or listen to: his sexual appetite is depicted on the page more than once, much to The Boys — and readers' — chagrin. No matter how much he looks like Lee, due to his age, glasses, and mustache, this is very much a different man.

Why the Legend may not make it to screen

The Legend is an extremely irreverent parody of Lee, but, as with the rest of The Boys, you have to take the character with a grain of salt. By using pre-established superhero templates and molding them into something darkly affecting, Ennis and Robertson crafted an unforgettable story that makes you wonder about both the genre itself and the world around us. The Legend is a part of that greater whole, but his potential debut in the show's upcoming third season is highly unlikely for one reason: Lee unfortunately passed away in late 2018.

To parody Lee while he's alive is one thing. To adapt that parody, while his untimely death is still so fresh in the public's collective mind, is another thing entirely. There may never be a "right" time to add the Legend to the show ... at least, not as he is in the comics. Indeed, the idea of the Legend is one worth considering, and the showrunners could certainly alter a few of his more unsavory qualities in order to make use of that idea while honoring Lee's legacy. Hughie's (Jack Quaid) old room is filled with paraphernalia of The Seven — the very Supes he's now fighting against — so, who knows? It wouldn't be a stretch to find some Legend-penned comics in there somewhere.