Let me say right off the bat that I love Stan Lee. If he hadn’t revolutionized superhero comics at Marvel back in the 1960s, I don’t know what I would have done with my free time from 1977 through 1981, which was primarily spent reading hundreds of comic books featuring characters he created. I would have had to go outside or something, and that probably wouldn’t have ended well.
But Stan is 93 now, and while I’m thrilled he still seems healthy and active, let’s face it: The man will say anything that pops into his head, as people who’ve lived 93 years on this planet tend (and deserve) to do. Hence the interview resulting in the headline, on Epicstream.com: ”Stan Lee Says Star Wars/Avengers Crossover Film Could Happen.”
Now, Stan Lee hasn’t been central to the Marvel brain trust in decades, and certainly not since Disney bought the company in 2009, so this would be about as relevant in the real world as a story that says, ”Stan Lee Says Zombie Apocalypse Could Happen,” or ”Stan Lee Says Peanut Butter Pudding Could Be A Thing.” And in Stan’s defense, it sounds like the interview (originally on BigIssue.com) went sort of like this:
Interviewer: So do you think Disney might ever make a Star Wars/Avengers crossover movie? Do ya? Do ya, huh?
Stan Lee: Um … Yeah, sure, why not?
But because he’s Stan Lee, and because his name is now in a headline with the phrase ”Star Wars/Avengers Crossover Film,” there are people all over the world whose digestive tracts have already spontaneously tightened up at the mere thought of such a thing.
The purists will of course be horrified: After all, the Star Wars series takes place ”a long time ago” (in a galaxy far, far away, natch), and the Avengers, at least in the movies, are taking place now. So right away there would have to be time travel involved, which is just a little bit too Star Trek-y for the old Star Wars crowd. (Never mind that Star Wars once did a crossover with Bea Arthur and Art Carney in the Holiday Special That Must Not Be Named — we’ve all mutually decided, as a society, that that doesn’t count.)
But for those people who had posters of both Darth Vader and Spider-Man in their childhood bedrooms and would lie in bed at night wondering who would win if they ever fought each other (not me, other people), it raises some intriguing questions. Such as, could Yoda use his Force powers to lift Thor’s hammer? Or, who would win a fight between Obi-Wan’s Force ghost and Dr. Strange’s astral projection? Or, what if Princess Leia and Red Sonja traded metal bikinis? DARN IT STAN LEE, NOW YOU’VE GOT ME ALL WORKED UP!
But it’s not just me — there’s actually a website called Super Power Beat Down that produces (sort of) professional-looking live-action movies in which characters from competing franchises fight each other, prompting thousands of commenters to go on — at length! — about why Batman really shouldn’t be able to use a lightsaber (because Force), or why Superman should be susceptible to Thor’s hammer (because Magic), or whatever. (The real question they should be asking is how these heroes manage to withstand the awesome power of Warner Bros. and Disney’s crack legal teams, but I’m sure that’s coming.)
So it could be that Stan Lee was on to something with his off-the-cuff response to that vaguely annoying question. Sure, it may sound like it’s pandering, but maybe a movie featuring Star Wars and The Avengers, not to mention Indiana Jones, Buzz and Woody and (what the hell) Donald Duck is exactly what our inner 10-year-olds need to nurture our tired souls. Or, just throwing this out there, maybe Disney could marshal its massive creative forces to come up with something daring and original that we’ve never seen before.
Wait, never mind — I almost forgot to include the Muppets! Somebody get me Bob Iger on the phone …