Marvel’s Chairman Emeritus Stan Lee has been making the promotional rounds in support of the company’s latest motion picture, The Avengers, based on the classic superheroes he created with Jack Kirby. By this point in his life, the 89-year-old publishing icon has seen a lot of Marvel movies come and go (and has appeared in at least 15 of them), and with that experience comes a lot of great stories. Among them, that time that noted comic book fan Michael Jackson was so keen to play Spider-Man that he attempted to buy Marvel just to make it happen.Lee was asked about the Michael Jackson experience in an interview with Eric Larnick for our sister site Moviefone:
Moviefone: The most interesting bit of almost-casting that I’ve ever heard came from a Producers Guild conference last summer: the “X-Men” producers revealed that Michael Jackson seriously lobbied for the part of Professor X.
Stan Lee: I wasn’t aware that Michael Jackson wanted to be Professor X. I knew Michael Jackson. And with the things he discussed with me, I felt he wanted to be Spider-Man. That was the character that interested him. He never discussed the X-Men with me.
MF: How do you think he would have fared as Spider-Man?
SL: I think he’d have been good. I think he’d have been very good. But I must say that Tobey Maguire was wonderful.
MF: I’m fascinated by the fact that Jackson worked with Stan Lee Media and attempted to buy Marvel, in the 90s.
SL: Yes, he wanted to. He felt that would be the only way that he could play Spider-Man. [Laughs]
MF: What do you think the company would have looked like now if that partnership came to fruition?
SL: I can’t imagine it would have been totally different of course, but maybe not as successful. Michael was not a great businessman.