With the shocking news of Stan Lee’s death on Monday, one question that plenty of comic books fans may have is when (and if) a biopic movie will tell the story of the man behind classic heroes like Spider-Man, the Hulk, Black Panther, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and many more.

The good news is that a Stan Lee biopic may already be in the works, but the bad news is that it’s been a few years since we’ve heard anything about it. Here’s how the project currently stands, and where it could be headed after today’s news.

Is a Stan Lee Biopic Happening?

In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Twentieth Century Fox had acquired Lee’s life rights and planned to create an “action-adventure movie” set in the 1970s. That meant the movie would take place after Lee helped invent many of Marvel’s most famous superheroes, instead focusing on his early efforts to bring those characters to the silver screen after moving to Hollywood.

Stan Lee at 1975 Comic-Con
Stan Lee at 1975 Comic-Con

At the time, it was reported that Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey (Twilight, The Maze Runner, Power Rangers) were attached the produce, with no word on a potential writer or director. However, in the year’s since, we haven’t heard much about this movie. So it’s possible that the idea was shelved entirely, though that will likely be reconsidered after today’s news.

The fact that Disney (which owns Marvel) is set to acquire Twentieth Century Fox also complicates things somewhat. Disney/Marvel certainly have more motivation than any other major studio to produce a biopic for the man who created some of its most lucrative intellectual property, but it’s also unlikely that film would explore the more complicated parts of Stan Lee’s history.

Who could play Stan Lee?

Not long after that initial report came out, one big Hollywood name was floated as a possible star for the biopic: Leonardo DiCaprio. Not only was the Wolf of Wall Street star interested, but he’d apparently already discussed it with Lee himself.

Spawn Leonardo DiCaprio Sam and Twitch

Here’s a 2017 quote from Lee on the subject:

“Believe it or not, I’ve already discussed it with Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s a neighbor of mine and we were talking one day some months ago, and he said, ‘Boy it’d be fun to do your story on the screen.’ So I said, ‘Well, I’ll audition you.’ Gotta make sure the guy can do it.”

It’s unclear if that audition ever happened, but either way, DiCaprio may be a frontrunner for the role assuming this long-rumored biopic ever gets made.


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