Stan Lee and the song “Dear Mr. Fantasy” from Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of over ten years and 22 movies in the amazing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In Endgame, we are treated to a classic rock song as the Marvel logo makes its appearance, and the song we hear as the logo shifts with images of Marvel characters and icons, is a throwback to the “hippie" era which is referenced a few times in the film. The song is “Dear Mr. Fantasy," by Traffic. Some ​analysts and critics​ think the inclusion of the song refers to Tony Stark and his journey in the MCU, but I argue that this song is a reference and an homage to the Fantasy Man himself, Stan “The Man" Lee.  

Stan Lee Cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Stan Lee Cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

First of all, remember, Stan Lee died in November of 2018, about six months prior to the release of Avengers: Endgame. This movie also features the last of the Stan Lee cameos filmed prior to his passing. How is it more likely that the song refers to Stan than to Tony as the Fantasy Man? Tony Stark is a man of science. He has little use for fantasy; in fact, Tony frequently, in recent movies, rejects pop culture and fantastical ideas from his cohorts (telling Peter Parker to stop referencing old movies for his ideas, for instance). No, if the opening song were “Mr. Roboto" by Styx, or “She Blinded with Science" by Thomas Dolby, I would say it would be a reference to Stark. 

So, what is the evidence for Stan Lee as “Mr. Fantasy?" Let’s look at the lyrics (written by ​Steve Winwood, Chris Wood, and Jim Capaldi​) of the song:  

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune Something to make us all happy Do anything, take us out of this gloom Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy  

You are the one who can make us all laugh But doing that you break out in tears Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had We wouldn’t have known you all these years  

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune Something to make us all happy Do anything, take us out of this gloom Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy, yeah yeah  

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune Something to make us all happy Do anything, take us out of this gloom Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy  

You are the one who can make us all laugh But doing that you break out in tears Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had We wouldn’t have known you all these years  

Look at Stan Lee’s career: his work (both in the comics, as well as TV and the Marvel movies) ​make us happy​, ​take away our gloom​ (by transporting us to his “fantastical" made-up worlds), and, as a major force of creativity (and marketing) for Marvel, he is ​the one who can make us all laugh, ​and, if he was not so darn creative (especially in the 1960s when he co-created most of the main Marvel characters and worlds), as in not having a ​straight mind, We wouldn’t have known you all these years. If Stan were not so darned creative, and had a “straight mind," we would not have known him, or Tony Stark, or Peter Parker, or Thor, etc. “all these years." Using the song “Dear Mr. Fantasy" to open Stan Lee’s last Marvel movie is clearly an homage to the most important person in the Marvel Universe, Stan “The Man" 

via GIPHY

The above gif of Stan Lee is from a deleted scene (seen in the Bonus Features of the movie) from the first Avengers movie.

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