Stan Lee: Always a Step Ahead

 

Among Stan Lee’s most exceptional talents was his nearly prescient
ability to gauge where the collective culture/world at large was heading, be it
socially, politically, or technologically. He’d tap into that to create
fascinating, parallel universes that entertained us while also cleverly commenting
on, and at times cautioning us, to take note of the impending realities awaiting
us back home.

That Stan “superpower” never faded in his later years; in fact, it’s on full, brilliant display later this month when one of his final and most technologically innovative works, Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light, releases on Audible only, June 27th. Created by Stan and collaborators Luke Lieberman and Ryan Silbert as an audio-first experience, the story introduces a new set of superheroes and confronts the ever-blurring lines between human and tech, organic and digital. As Stan so succinctly put it in his wonderful audio intro to the title: “What is more real? A world we are born into or one we create for ourselves?” Even in his 90s, Stan was tackling one of the key conundrums of our time head-on. As smart tech, biotech, wearables, and AR/VR capabilities continue to develop and envelop every aspect of our lives, we’re all compelled to confront a central question Stan posed so concisely: “Just because we have the ability to recreate ourselves, should we?”

Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light was years in the making. Filled with amazing action and a fresh batch of superheroes for us all to escape with, it’s still grounded in what makes Stan’s work singular and timeless—tales of ordinary people wrestling with the issues of our day, just on an epic scale. And like always, Stan Lee is leading us somewhere new that feels strangely familiar and profoundly fitting.

Pre-order the Audible Original Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light today and set off into a new universe June 27th. For more info head over to Audible.

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Mutants Celebrated at the ‘Dark Phoenix’ World Premiere in Hollywood

Over the
past 19 years, one of Stan Lee’s greatest comicbook franchises has been brought
to life in the form of various X-Men films. This was a group of characters that
Stan always held dear, so it was an honor for #TeamStan to be able to attend the
Los Angeles premiere of X-Men: Dark
Phoenix
and help celebrate the movie.

The final film in the concurrent X-Men timeline had its world premiere last week, and it’s safe to say that Dark Phoenix and the rest of the mutants took over Hollywood for the affair. Instead of the traditional red carpet, press and fans gathered on a giant X in the courtyard of the historic TCL Chinese Theatre to meet the cast of Dark Phoenix as well as some of the veteran X-Men cast members and writers. The entrance to the theater was transformed into a giant Cerebro, complete with circular metal doors and an elevated walkway which the stars posed on.

In addition to the cast of Dark Phoenix, consisting of Sophie Turner, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ty Sheridan, and Jessica Chastain, some other familiar faces walked down the grey carpet as well. The original Jean Grey herself, Famke Janssen, came to show her support for the new class of mutants, as well as Shawn Ashmore, who played Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, in several of the previous films.

Before the
cast filed into the theater to watch the movie, legendary Marvel writer Chris
Claremont, co-creator of the original Dark Phoenix comicbook arc, said a few
words, starting with a tribute to the team that started it all: Stan Lee and
Jack Kirby.

“I want to
give a special thanks to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. And I bet they’re watching
and… I hope they like it,” Claremont said over thunderous applause.

Director Simon Kinberg then introduced the star-studded cast as he announced that June 5, the day of the premiere, had been officially declared “Dark Phoenix Day” by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The cast cheered as they posed for one last group shot before everyone went inside to watch their final film together.

Kinberg was
quick to acknowledge how greatly Stan influenced him over the years, saying:
“He had such an impact on my life and career. Even before I met him, he
meant so much to me, and I am so grateful to have worked with him. Such a
positive, creative force.”

Michael
Fassbender also spoke about Stan’s visits to the X-Men sets over the past nine
years. “It was always such a treat when he came to the set,” Fassbender said. “He
was such a sweet man; we all loved seeing him so much.”

Inside the
theater, as the film ended and the credits rolled, one of the first names to
appear was Stan’s Executive Producer credit, and cheers were heard throughout
the Chinese Theater when his name flashed upon the screen.

The Dark Phoenix after party continued the celebration of the entire X-Men franchise, complete with costumes and props from the last three films, including various helmets worn by Magneto, Charles Xavier’s wheelchair, Mystique’s X-Men suit, and more. The doors to the Roosevelt Hotel were transformed into giant, circular Cerebro doors as well, so everyone could be a class four psychic mutant for the night like Charles Xavier. Not to mention, a custom gif-photobooth allowed guests to practice their mutant fighting poses after seeing the movie.

It’s a new
era in the Marvel film universe without Stan, but it is a testament to his
legacy and impact on pop culture as millions of fans continue to devote
themselves to these characters that were created so long ago. Things may be
changing for the X-Men film franchise going forward with Disney/Marvel Studios
taking these “merry mutants” under their wing, but the resonance the characters
have for their audience will always remain strong, as it did during the world
premiere of Dark Phoenix.

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