How Kevin Smith Exists Inside The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Kevin Smith is one of the most legendary filmmakers in the American independent film world. His projects have been nominated for prestigious awards, and one is even enshrined in the Library of Congress. Smith has made totally independent films, and big budget projects. He's written, directed, starred, edited, and done essentially everything you can behind the scenes to bring a film to life. He's a straight up legend.
But in the same way some people view Kevin Smith as an icon, Smith has his own personal heroes. He isn't shy about them either, because his success afforded him a chance to not only meet one of his heroes, but to work with him. The person we're referencing is the late, great, Stan Lee.
Smith was able to have Stan Lee even appear in one of his early films. Which is actually a pretty big foreshadowing moment for the future.
In the mid-1990s, when Smith was working on his film Mallrats, he had a scene for a "legendary comic book creator" to give a speech to a character. The original part was going to be a fictious role inspired by Stan Lee. However when the chance to actually get Stan Lee came up, it was a no-brainer.
But it was a different time. Now we know Stan Lee for his cameos in movies, it was a huge part of his legacy. From the original Fox X-Men movies through the MCU rise, we saw Stan Lee cameo in movie after movie. In 1995 when Smith had Stan Lee cameo in his film, it was only the second time Stan did something like that, and it was by far the biggest.
Stan Lee's monologue in Mallrats is an all-time great moment, and one of the highlights of Smith's legendary career. It also spawned a moment that would flip the script (literally) and instead of putting a Marvel icon into a View Askew (Smith's movie company) project, the View Askew icon was getting put into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It came in the Marvel Studios film Captain Marvel, where Stan Lee's cameo was a direct reference to his Mallrats role, including a copy of the Mallrats script, and Lee practicing one of his lines from Mallrats...
At that point, Kevin Smith was forever enshrined inside the MCU. He exists in the same universe as Doctor Strange, Moon Knight, The Hulk, and all of the other Avengers. This also sets up the possibility that Yondu or Starlord have watched Mallrats, and noticed that the character Jared Svenning looks a lot like the blue-skinned alien with an arrow he can whistle around...