WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel, in theaters now.
Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck slightly tweaked Stan Lee's cameo in the film when the Marvel Comics legend passed last November.
In the movie, Carol Danvers runs into Lee as she hunts for Skrulls on the Los Angeles subway. The late Marvel editor-in-chief presumably portrays himself, as he can be seen reading a script for Kevin Smith's Mallrats and quoting his "Trust me, True Believer" line from the 1996 film. Following Lee's death, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck decided to expand the scene to include a self-referential smile from Brie Larson's Carol before she continues her search.
"Instead of just the pure laugh we had, we had a little bit of a smile from Captain Marvel in response to it, and she kind of breaks character for a moment," Boden told Mashable. "I think it reflects a little bit of what the audience is feeling, and we allowed that to happen."
The film also opens with a tribute to Lee, showcasing scenes from previous cameos and behind-the-scenes work with the MCU's stars in a montage over the Marvel Studios logo. Subsequently, a title card thanks him for creating many of the cinematic universe's iconic characters. According to the directors, the tribute was an idea from the studio that they wholeheartedly welcomed.
"The Marvel logo was a Marvel thing that they presented to us," Fleck reveaked. "They said, 'Hey guys, what do you think of this? We were thinking of doing this for the movie.'"
"We cried," admitted Boden.
"We were just moved by it," Fleck agreed.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jude Law as the commander of Starforce, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau, Algenis Perez Soto as Att-Lass, McKenna Grace as a young Carol Danvers and Annette Bening as the Supreme Intelligence.