Genius Brands International and POW! Entertainment have signed a 20-year deal with Marvel to license the name and likeness of Stan Lee.
Despite the iconic comic book writer passing away in 2018, Lee’s image will be used for feature films, TV shows, Disney theme parks, ‘experiences’ and merchandising, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Chairman and CEO of Genius Brands Andy Heyward said the new deal will allow Lee's legacy to live on.
“It really ensures that Stan, through digital technology and archival footage and other forms, will live in the most important venue, the Marvel movies, and Disney theme parks,” he said.
“It’s a broad deal.”
The brain behind Marvel’s most beloved superheroes co-founded POW! Entertainment in 2001, but shortly before his death, he filed a USD $1 billion lawsuit against the company for fraud and conversion.
The Guardian reports the lawsuit was filed after he accused POW! Entertainment of licensing his name and likeness to Hong Kong-based company Camsing International without his permission.
He stated that POW! Entertainment CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion had presented him with ‘a non-exclusive license’ for POW! for him to sign, under Camsing International, to use his likeness and other intellectual property.
However, the contract turned out to be an exclusive agreement, which Lee said he would never have signed had he known.
Lee also claims that the company made him sign the agreement as he cared for his terminally ill wife while his eyesight was also beginning to fail.
However, POW! Entertainment said that Lee’s allegations were completely ‘without merit’ and the lawsuit was subsequently dropped months before his death, according to The Verge.
After he dismissed the lawsuit, Lee said in a statement: "The whole thing has been confusing to everyone, including myself and the fans, but I am now happy to be surrounded by those who want the best for me."
He continued: "I am thrilled to put the lawsuit behind me, get back to business with my friends and colleagues at POW! and launch the next wave of amazing characters and stories!"
After appearing in 37 Marvel feature films, Heyward said to The Hollywood Reporter that audiences would love to see Lee on the silver screen again.
“The audience revered Stan, and if it’s done with taste and class, and respectful of who he was, [uses of his likeness] will be welcomed,” he said.
“He is a beloved personality, and long after you and I are gone, he will remain the essence of Marvel.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy.
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