During a Guardians of the Galaxy panel at Dragon Con in Atlanta, director James Gunn revealed that he had a different cameo in mind for Marvel icon Stan Lee than the one that eventually made it into the film. In an Instagram post that he put up just today, Gunn offered a detailed explanation of how he originally wanted to feature Lee and why it was ultimately changed.
Instead of Lee chatting up a young woman on Xandar — which is what we got in the finished film — the 91-year-old comic book legend was actually supposed to show up as one of the exhibits belonging to the Collector (Benicio Del Toro). The plan was for the Guardians to each look at a different display case, with Groot spying Lee, who would then give Groot the finger.
Gunn filmed the shot with a body double sitting in for Lee, who was unable to make it over to the U.K. for the actual filming and whose head would have digitally transplanted onto the double’s neck. But Gunn said that he decided to drop it because “I thought the flipping off joke was too similar to the moment earlier in the film where Quill flips off the Nova Corps, so I excised that part of it immediately. A couple of the guys at Marvel thought Stan Lee in a case was too broad of a joke in general, and that it took the audience out of the movie.”
Gunn was quick to add that the decision had nothing to do with Disney getting uptight over Lee flipping Groot off, as some have speculated — he said that Disney execs never even saw the scene. And why would they get all moralistic about that and not Quill doing the same thing?