ABC/Richard Cartwright(NEW YORK) — Marvel maniacs united at New York City’s New Amsterdam Theater Monday night to pay tribute to the man whose imagination launched the Marvel Universe: Stan Lee. 

As the creative force behind Marvel Comics, Lee created or co-created Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Thor, The Hulk, Doctor Strange and many other characters.  He also had cameos in nearly every Marvel film.

Marvel Celebrates Stan Lee, filmed for a future ABC TV special, was hosted by Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D star Clark Gregg, whose character Phil Coulson was first introduced in Iron Man.

The evening featured heartfelt speeches by Marvel movie and TV stars, as well as Lee’s Marvel Comics colleagues and friends, interspersed with video montages featuring Mark Hamill, Evangeline Lily, Kevin Smith, Elizabeth Olsen, Mark Ruffalo, Lou Ferrigno, Seth Green, Jimmy Kimmel, and rappers Method Man of Wu-Tang Clan and Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC.

One such tribute quoted Avengers: Endgame by concluding with the words “Stan, we love you 3000.”

Before the filming started, Marvel’s Daredevil star Charlie Cox gave opening remarks, and his Daredevil co-star Deborah Ann Woll later spoke about how Lee’s creations have completely changed pop culture as we know it. 

“Ten years ago, could you have imagined that the average person on the New York subway would have strong feelings about The Winter Soldier?”  she asked.  “Or that the woman who cuts your hair would have a crush on The Winter Soldier…and on Loki?”

Gregg’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-star Ming-Na Wen spoke about how Lee was one of the driving forces behind making Marvel Comics more inclusive, while Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston, spoke about how Lee became just as big a star as the heroes he created.

“Stan Lee’s in more movies than I am!” Hiddleston marveled.

Paul Bettany, who plays Vision, thanked Lee for “giving us freaks and weirdos a place to belong.”

But perhaps Hiddleston said it best.

“Stan Lee started a story with no end, and it changed the world,” he noted. “We couldn’t stop it now if we tried. ‘Nuff said.”

So far, there’s no airdate for the special.

Marvel, like ABC News, is owned by Disney.

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