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Ranking Every Non-Marvel Stan Lee Movie Cameo

Stan "The Man," Mr. Marvel, Smilin' Stan — whatever you call him, there's no denying that Stan Lee is the godfather of Marvel comics. Creator of just about every modern Marvel mainstay — from Spider-Man, the Hulk, Black Panther, the Avengers, and countless others (via Time) — his contributions to American culture are immeasurable. But Lee is known for more than just the heroes and villains he's created, and as Marvel's mightiest pitch man he made a name for himself as the face of comics, appearing in ads, answering fan letters, and eventually becoming a celebrity in his own right outside of the comic book industry.

With a number of catchphrases and memorable one-liners, it wasn't long before Lee took his talents to the screen. He served as narrator of several Marvel cartoons in the 1980s, including "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends." When Marvel made the leap to live-action, he followed, making his first appearance as a juror in the "Hulk" television movie, "The Trial of the Incredible Hulk." Since then, Lee has cameoed in nearly every MCU movie.

But what some fans might not know is that he's appeared in nearly a dozen films outside of Marvel movies. In fact, his first movie cameo ever wasn't in a Marvel movie. But how do they stack up? Well, we've compiled a list of every non-Marvel movie cameo Lee ever made, and ranked them worst to best. "Excelsior!"

11. Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet

The first entry of our list may not actually be the worst per se, but because Stan Lee himself does not provide his unmistakable voice, and the cameo is of the blink-and-miss-it variety, we can't justify putting it any higher. But in the 2018 Disney sequel "Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet," a digital avatar of Stan Lee himself pops up in the virtual world. In a film awash in cameos of all kinds — from "Star Wars" and "Marvel" characters to the Muppets and even pop group "Imagine Dragons," Lee's appearance here makes more sense than in most of the other film's he's appeared. 

The sequel film sees Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) diving inside the internet to find a replacement steering wheel control for their arcade cabinet. They find it easily enough but need to collect the money to pay for it, and in the process, Ralph becomes an online sensation. In their travels, Vanellope heads to the Disney section of the web and has a run-in with some Stormtroopers from "Star Wars" before taking a walk down a busy street, where she bumps into the stylized digital version of Lee. 

Sadly, Lee himself would pass away just days before the film's wide release, making his non-speaking appearance in "Ralph Breaks the Internet" that much more of a delight — and sobering sight — for longtime Lee fans.

10. Jugular Wine: A Vampire Odyssey

If you want to see Stan Lee as a professor who's met vampires, lives to tell the tale, and screams, "They were like angels! Shimmering, radiant!" — then this one is for you. It all happened some half-decade before he started appearing regularly in Marvel movies, in the 1994 independent film "Jugular Wine: A Vampire Odyssey." A low-budget vampire horror movie, it was directed by Blair Murphy, whose friend Shaun Irons, the film's lead, just so happened to be assistant to comic book god Stan Lee and good friends with superstar artist Frank Miller (via Polygon).

"Shaun said to Stan, 'Hey, if you do this movie, Frank Miller wants to be in it with you,'" Murphy said (via Polygon). "I said to Frank Miller, 'If you do this movie, Stan Lee wants to do it with you.' They both were like, 'Oh, okay!' That's how they both ended up in the movie, this zero-budget indie movie.'

Though Lee would remember the production as a pleasant experience, Murphy described Lee's scenes as difficult to shoot thanks to Lee's speedy ways of doing things. "He walked in and said, 'I'm One-Take Lee, that's what they call me!'" Murphy said (per Polygon). "We'd give him the line, he'd say it with great enthusiasm, and that was it." Unless you're a Stan Lee fan, you won't find much interest in "Jugular Wine" unless you have a love of no-budget cinema.

9. The Adventures Of Cinderella's Daughter

Though the movie is one of the worst you're likely to see, even considering its intended child audience, Stan Lee's inexplicable cameo in "The Adventures of Cinderella's Daughter" is worth keeping an eye out for. The film, which is produced with stilted actors, an abominable script, and daytime soap opera levels of production quality, centers on — you guessed it — Cinderella's daughter, who is forbidden from attending a commoners' ball and must be bailed out by a fairy godparent.

But it's during the big wedding scene at the end that we get an appearance from Lee — for no discernible reason — who plays the priest presiding over the ceremony. In courtly dress, Stan the Man officiates, and it's all pretty standard, boring stuff until the prince, Gregory, bolts from the altar to the side of Cinderella's daughter just when he's supposed to say "I do." The funny part comes in when Gregory pronounces his love for Cindy, and Mr. Marvel, as the officiating priest, points down and hurriedly asks, "Do you take her, and do you take him?"

Whether it's intended to be a joke or not, Lee's delivery of the rushed proposal is sure to get a chuckle from true believers everywhere.

8. The Concessionaires Must Die!

One of Stan Lee's last cameos, the direct-to-VOD indie comedy "The Concessionaires Must Die!" was released a year before his passing, in 2017. The film follows a group of friends who work at a local movie theater and band together when it's about to be shut down. The friends are all geeks of one sort or another, whether it's movies or comic books, and the film feels inspired by the like of "Clerks" with snappy pop culture-laden dialogue as characters drill one another on movie trivia and drop references to their favorite on-screen heroes left and right. So it should come as no surprise that producers called on Stan Lee to pop in, in a scene that is a definite standout. Lee also served as executive producer on the film (per Live For Film).

In the movie, Lee plays the grandfather of one of the main characters and sits down with the young man in an important scene to give him advice. While the shoestring-budget movie isn't any sort of award-winner, it's got plenty of heart, and Lee's cameo brings quite a bit of it. Lee gets to deliver what might be the film's most emotional line, where he motivates Scott with a powerful speech, saying "Make sure the story of your life is worth telling."

The line has become all the more poignant now, as Lee's own life may be one of the most remarkable true stories in comic book history.

7. Yoga Hosers

"Goddamn Yoga Hosers!" Kevin Smith strikes again, casting Stan Lee in his 13th feature film, "Yoga Hosers." Written and directed by Smith, it would be the second film he'd draft Lee for a part in, though this time it would be just a brief but memorable 30-second cameo. The film, starring Johnny Depp's daughter Lily-Rose, and Smith's daughter, Harley Quinn, tells the story of two teen girls who face off with a long-lost Canadian Nazi who commands an army of miniature bratwurst warriors. To defeat him, they ally themselves with a notorious manhunter named Guy LaPointe (Johnny Depp).

While escaping the demonic little Nazi sausages, the two girls give a frantic call to police, desperate for help. But to their utter disappointment, the officer who answers is a bright-eyed and somewhat naive old man, played by Lee. Smith uses Lee's comic wit to its best effect, as the doddering and out-of-touch first responder is more interested in monologuing about Dr. Doom and Darth Vader than sending cops to lend a hand to the two girls. Eventually, they hang up, and Stan is left holding the bright red receiver and cursing out the young yoga hosers.

6. Pizza Man

"Malcom in the Middle" star Frankie Muniz starred alongside actors Shelley Long, Michael Gross, and former pro-wrestler Diamond Dallas Page in the 2011 superhero comedy "Pizza Man." The film tells the story of Matt Burns (Muniz), a teenage pizza delivery boy who becomes a superhero when he eats a genetically altered tomato originally designed to create an army of super-soldiers. Given its superheroic spoof plot, an appearance by Marvel legend Stan Lee seems wholly appropriate, and here Lee turns up as himself, in a scene filmed in his famous office, where he's handed a pizza by the downtrodden delivery boy.

The ever-observant Stan spots how depressed Burns is, and gives him a lively pep talk to lift his spirits, telling him about how fantastic the future is. While playing the over-the-top, outsized version of himself that we all know and love, Lee makes a crack about how he used to write obituaries for a living. The former Marvel publisher may appear in just a quick scene, but he still manages to squeeze in many of his most famous and iconic catchphrases: He greets Burns with an "Excelsior!," addresses him as a "true believer," and says goodbye with a "'Nuff Said!"

5. The Princess Diaries 2

Stan 'The Man' Lee, in a Walt Disney film, years before the studio was associated with Marvel? It happened all right, and it was in perhaps the unlikeliest of places: the 2002 family comedy sequel "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement." While many might remember the movie for being the film debut of future "Star Trek" star Chris Pine, Stan Lee's cameo makes it even more noteworthy. In the film, Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) has graduated from Princeton University but cannot become queen of Genovia unless she finds a husband in 30 days — enter the charismatic and handsome Nicholas (Pine).

At the ultimate wedding, Stan Lee turns up in a momentary cameo as an awkward wedding guest who learned English from watching "The Three Stooges" and makes a terribly inappropriate joke at the expense of Hollywood legend Julie Andrews; he makes an unwitting pass at the screen icon, wishing it could be him up on the altar marrying her instead. Lee even fakes a foreign accent for the role, making it one of his more amusing appearances in a non-Marvel movie.

Though the role may seem like it's out of left field, Lee's own website credits the cameo to his friendship with the film's director, Garry Marshall, who had once held discussions about adapting some of Lee's creations for the silver screen. While he may not have gotten the adaptation he was looking for, it led to one of his best cameos.

4. Teen Titans GO! To The Movies

We've seen Stan Lee pop up in Marvel movies, Disney princess movies, low-budget indie horror movies, and Kevin Smith joints. But a DC Comics superhero movie? Surely that would be a step too far! Well, it finally happened in the kids animated film adaptation of a small-screen series, "Teen Titans GO! To The Movies," in 2018. In the film, the Teen Titans are determined to have a film made about their own adventures and head to Hollywood. They finally find a way to sneak onto the Warner Bros. studio backlot and visit the DC movie sets. The scene is filled with easter eggs, references, and cameos to delight DC Comics fans, but there's one for Marvel buffs too, in the form of Stan Lee.

As the Titans meander around the backlot, Stan Lee interrupts the proceedings, grabbing the "camera" and breaking the fourth wall. He declares this the moment for his famous "subtle cameo," mugging for the audience, stopping to make poses that mimic many of his famous characters like Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Cyclops, and Wolverine. But just as he's throwing claws like Wolverine, a stagehand interrupts his theatrics to break the news to him, leaving Lee mortified.

"This is a DC movie?!" he cries. "Oh, gee, I gotta get outta here!"

3. The Ambulance

It might not be the funniest or most fan-pleasing cameo, but Stan Lee's appearance in the 1990 comedy action thriller "The Ambulance" was his first film role and one that was surprisingly not so out-of-place. The film centers on a young comic book artist who works for Marvel Comics named Josh Baker (Eric Roberts), whose friend (Janine Turner) disappears after calling for an ambulance when she falls ill. When the cops aren't helpful, Baker takes it upon himself to track her down. James Earl Jones and Meghan Gallagher also star.

Given the story of the film, it should come as no shock that Lee turns up while Baker is at work, sitting in the mighty Marvel bullpen. From his desk, Baker calls authorities looking for information on his girlfriend and gets no help. In this timeline, Stan Lee is still apparently editor-in-chief of Marvel (in reality, per The New York Times, he'd moved to California in the 1980s and became more of a functioning figurehead, negotiating movie and TV deals for the company from his home on the West Coast). When he sees Baker on the phone, he asks if he's going to be getting any work done, before the artist tells him about his missing girlfriend. 

Unfortunately, Stan doesn't want to hear it, and he warns Baker that his personal problems need to be dealt with on his personal time. But even when Lee is acting as a hard-nosed boss, he still has his customary charm.

2. Madness in the Method

In Stan Lee's final feature film role, Lee teamed up once more with Kevin Smith, who only appears as an actor this time, with his "Clerks" buddy Jason Mewes producing, directing, and starring. The 2019 film "Madness in the Method" is a quasi-biopic based on Mewes' own life, and Mewes plays a fictionalized version of himself who is looking to be taken more seriously as an actor in Hollywood. To do so, he attempts to employ so-called "method acting," which drives him to insanity.

Lee also pops up playing himself, encounters a Mewes fan, and proceeds to mock the "Jay and Silent Bob" actor for his goofball persona, calling him a "knucklehead." Lee gets some nice wisecracks in, and it's always nice to hear Stan "The Man" Lee say "smoochie-boochie."

Just ahead of its release, writer, director, and star Mewes talked about what it means for his movie to be Lee's final performance on screen. "Stan was a big, important person I was hoping would come down and do a cameo," Mewes said in an interview with ComicBook.com. "It's still surreal that I got to meet and I got to hang out with this gentleman, and that he's in my movie. It really does blow me away, still."

1. Mallrats

Without a doubt, writer and director Kevin Smith's "Clerks" follow-up, "Mallrats," is far and away Stan Lee's best film outside of Marvel movies, and there are few who would argue. It's not just because the 1995 film gives us Lee's finest acting work and elicits plenty of side-splitting laughs, either. It's because, on top of all that, Lee actually plays an important role in the story, a pivotal part that helps propel Jason Lee's character Brodie to fight for his girlfriend's love.

In the extended cameo, Brodie bumps into the comic creator at a shopping mall while he's at his lowest. At first, Brodie is starstruck and proceeds to ask the Marvel editor several inappropriate questions about the heroes he created and their ... unmentionables. After deftly dodging his unseemly and quarrelsome queries, Lee pivots to the subject of dating. He tells a story about having lost his one true love. Inspired by Lee's passionate tale of chasing tail — in competition with Mick Jagger, no less — while he'd always opined for the one who got away, Brodie is spurred to action.

But after Brodie leaves, Lee tells T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) that Brody "bought it." Lee's elaborate yarn turns out to be nothing more than a similar speech he'd once written for an issue of "Spider-Man," though he warns that Brodie's odd obsession with superhero private parts may require a little therapy. It's an unforgettable cameo from a comic book legend.