Stan Lee was in attendance at Salt Lake City Comic-Con this weekend. He sat down with comicbooks.com and discussed the recent news about Falcon picking up the shield in the Captain America comics series, about which Lee seems to know very little.

You Can’t Know Everything…

Lee is a huge figure in the comics world, and with good reason, so it’s easy to forget that the company he helped create, which is now a multi-faceted corporation with thousands of moving parts (and even more employees), is not actually his anymore. Keeping track of all the rumors, the actual and purported storylines, and where and what each of the characters is up to is a daunting task–especially for a man well on his way to 100, and still plenty busy with his own projects. Of course if you’ve got all that in mind, it’s unsurprising that Lee was taken off-guard by the announcement of Falcon becoming the Star-Spangled man. That didn’t stop the fans from spiraling into a tizzy, though.

While Lee didn’t have any specifics about the handing off of the shield, he did remind his audience that changing of the guard happens pretty frequently in comics. The fact that the books are released weekly, and that the most successful ones go on for decades, means that readers need variety in order to stay interested. Many of Marvels heroes have met untimely deaths only to make surprising and unlikely come-backs later on. Thor even remained “dead” for seven years in real time–and both Steve and Bucky have left us forever only to reappear with only a little freezerburn and communist brain-washing to show for it. Anyone concerned that this might be a different case file will find comfort in the following: Lee assured us that Sam Wilson taking over for Steve Rogers is not going to be permanent, and that it by no means marks an end to Rogers all together.

Lee also talked about rumors in the Spider-man camp, although he wasn’t sure what was confirmed and what was conjecture–that Mary-Jane or Gwen Stacy may get a turn as Spider-Woman sometime soon. This is just another example of Marvel doing something unexpected with their classic heroes. In fact, it fits right in with their current delightful trend of turning a hero on its head. This summer alone there were two huge uproars when the comics company announced a change in gender for the next person worthy of wielding Mjolnir, in addition to Falcon as Captain America. Sam Wilson will be the first African-American to take over Cap’s position, however Marvel has already cast an African-American as Spiderman (Miles Morales), as well as creating at least one black superhero with his own line of books (Black Panther).

Marvel Prints In All Colors

Although there was some resistance to the announcement of Falcon becoming Captain America based on the fact that he is a black character where both Steve and Bucky are white, Marvel has done a decent amount of race bending both with and without a full character change. although Nick Fury was introduced in 1963 as a white man, he was changed in the Ultimate Marvel Team-Up (2001) to a black character largely based off the actor Samuel L. Jackson. Of course, Jackson went on to play Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Finally, although no changes were made in the comics, Marvel had no issue casting Idris Elba in the traditionally white role of Asgard’s all-seeing and all-hearing guardian Heimdall. Elba played this role in both Thor and Thor: The Dark World. Many rumors have spread that Anthony Mackie’s Falcon will take over for Captain America in the film series, especially considering that Chris Evan’s contract currently expires at the end of the series’ next installment.

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