Stan Lee died in 2018, leaving behind a legacy as a tireless promoter of comics, a bombastic showman, and an enthusiastic performer of superhero movie cameos. And also, you know, Spider-Man, perhaps his most beloved and iconic co-creation, and one whose tone he helped set for much of the character’s early crime fighting, rent-barely-paying career. Those associations have led at least a few people (including, for some reason, Jeremy Renner) to wonder what Lee would have made of the current disagreement going down between the character’s movie rights holders at Sony, and Marvel Studios owner Disney, who have come to a parting of the ways in terms of the former studio’s willingness to loan out the incredibly lucrative character to one of its biggest business rivals. Obviously, it’s a question we can never know the answer to—although it’s worth noting that Lee seemed thoroughly studio-agnostic when it came to picking which cameos to do—but a member of his family has now weighed in on the argument for herself.
Specifically, Lee’s only daughter, Joan Celia Lee, threw her full support behind Sony today, telling TMZ that “Marvel and Disney seeking total control of my father’s creations must be checked and balanced by others who, while still seeking to profit, have genuine respect for Stan Lee and his legacy.” Lee also noted that she supports the idea of multiple companies having the rights to her father’s work, pointing out that it encourages a diversity of points of view on and evolutions of these characters. And then she got a little personal:
When my father died, no one from Marvel or Disney reached out to me. From day one, they have commoditized my father’s work and never shown him or his legacy any respect or decency. In the end, no one could have treated my father worse than Marvel and Disney’s executives.
It’s worth noting that Lee’s daughter is one of several parties who’ve been implicated or accused at one time or another of abusive behavior in the bizarre clusterfuck surrounding Lee’s later years (and now his estate), a fuck that has not gotten any less clustered in the almost-year since his death. (With lawsuits and criminal charges continuing to fly back and forth between the various managers and agents who “took care” of Lee in the years after the death of his beloved wife and protector Joan.) That being said, she is the “Excelsior!” shouting Marvel mastermind’s sole heir, and so her word does presumably have to carry some weight when discussing Lee, and his wishes in situations like this.