Stan Lee Universe Stan Lee Universe

The late Stan Lee lives on, and not only through Marvel.

His company Pow! Entertainment has teamed up with Genius Brands International to launch the Stan Lee Universe, a joint venture that will draw on more than 100 of his other creations.

Here are the details:

  • The Stan Lee Universe will cover movies and series, and exploit the IP in a variety of other ways. Around seven of the 100+ properties will be developed every year. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Genius Brands will be the managing and controlling partner.
  • The new venture has “worldwide rights, in perpetuity, to the name, physical likeness, physical signature, live-action and animated motion picture, television, online, digital, publishing, comic books, merchandising, and licensing to the IP,” said Genius Brands.
  • The deal only includes Lee’s post-Marvel creations (like Tomorrow Men, Stringbean, Black Fury, and Virus). Marvel Entertainment was sold to Disney for $4.4 billion in 2009. Disney converted it into the multi-billion-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie franchise.
  • The deal also includes those same rights to Stan Lee himself. Back in 2018, shortly before he passed away, Lee had sued his own company Pow! alleging that he was conned into signing over his name and likeness rights by then-CEO Shane Duffy and Pow! co-founder Gill Champion. Pow! had been sold in 2017 to Chinese company Camsing International Holding, where Duffy was also an executive. Lee dropped the lawsuit a few months later, claiming that everything had been resolved.
  • More recently, Lee’s daughter J.C. Lee, who is the trustee of her father’s estate, had filed a lawsuit against Pow! claiming that they did not own the likeness to her father’s name or image. That case was thrown out by a judge two weeks ago, which paved the way for today’s announcement. Lee’s daughter was additionally fined a million dollars by the court for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit.
  • Andy Heyward, CEO and chairman of Genius Brands, said, “In all of Hollywood, there is no greater prize. This is the Holy Grail. Stan Lee Universe is a once-in-a-lifetime asset drawn from over 100 original, heretofore unexploited properties, created by the most successful creator of intellectual property of our time.”
  • In a jab at the MCU, Heyward added, “I have no doubt that the greatest characters, the greatest stories, and the greatest hits from the mind of Stan Lee have yet to be told.” He also said of Lee, “There is no creator who has influenced pop culture and created more successful entertainment. Not even Walt Disney.”
  • Pow!, which Lee founded in 2001 to manage his creator rights and licenses, has collaborated with Genius Brands before. For example, they co-produced the adult animated series Stan Lee’s Cosmic Crusaders (in partnership with The Hollywood Reporter) and animated film Stan Lee’s Mighty 7.