If a Marvel superhero has jumped to the big screen, it's likely that Marvel Comics' legend Stan Lee has likely been lurking in the background, waiting for his close-up. Since 2000's X-Men, Lee has played everything from a hot dog cart vendor to the poisoned victim of gamma-irradiated soda. But a fan theory is not only suggesting all of Lee's cameos are connected, but that he has been secretly playing the same character in each film -- and that it may have cosmic implications for Marvel's cinematic universe.
CinemaBlend posits that Lee is none other than Uatu, The Watcher -- the ancient alien created by Lee and Jack Kirby for 1963's Fantastic Four #13 -- who has observed human history's most meaningful events, before losing his recently losing his eyes, and life, in Original Sin.
"Obviously [Stan Lee] doesn't have the stature or the big bald head of his comic book counterpart, but perhaps 'Stan Lee' is a human disguise he wears so that he can get closer to the action without standing out," explains the site. Meanwhile, Moviepilot takes a crack at theorizing that the 91-year old Lee is actually the time-traveling Kang The Conqueror.
Both theories are fun, especially what it could mean as a way to use "The Man" as a bridge to a larger, connected Marvel cinematic multiverse. But io9 pointed out that it's unlikely the different studios involved in each Marvel film jointly agreed to something so elaborate, as well as noting that The Watchers would have been pretty disappointed seeing one of their own trying to dislodge Thor's hammer with a pickup truck.
Even if Lee isn't a time-traveling warlord or ancient alien on the big screen, he can still take solace in being "The Man."