Disney has bought a license to use Stan Lee and his likeness in future movies and theme park attractions, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the report, Marvel has signed a deal with Stan Lee Universe to license the late creator’s likeness “for use in future feature films and television productions, as well as Disney theme parks, various “experiences” and merchandising”.
“It really ensures that Stan, through digital technology and archival footage and other forms, will live in the most important venue, the Marvel movies, and Disney theme parks,” said Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands. “It’s a broad deal.”
Some fans have seen the deal for Disney to continue exploiting Stan Lee after his passing to be in poor taste, considering the creator’s twilight years were a turbulent mess of people trying to control his estate.
“Watching Stan Lee get turned into IP by his estate is grim as hell, but it’s the logical extension of how he was treated when he was alive“, writes comic writer Harry Kassen.
“It’s abhorrent how much our society idolizes consumerism. Stan Lee and Bob Ross were both fantastic people who have been disgustingly exploited in their late lives and postmortem”, writes Twitter user RoligtJackson, who compared the continued use of Lee’s likeness to the posthumous exploitation of Bob Ross.
Though far from the sole creator of Marvel’s most iconic characters Stan Lee was very much the public face of Marvel, most notably for his love of making cameos in Marvel Movies dating as far back as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy.
The leading speculation is that part of this deal was to keep using him for digital cameos, though Disney has neither confirmed nor denied this to be the case.
That being said, the mention of the license also applying to theme parks paints a ghastly image of them turning the late creator into a theme park exhibit.