Stan Lee Talks About Launching a New Superhero Franchise

…And, since it’s Stan Lee, who to us is at the very least the 2nd Most Interesting Man in the World, we bring you this report about what he said:

Stan Lee's Mighty 7 Capture

by Kimberly Nordyke

The comic book legend is taking on his first starring role in Stan Lee’s Mighty 7, the first of three animated movies created by Lee and produced by Stan Lee Comics, a joint venture among Genius Brands International, run by Andy Heyward and Amy Moynihan Heyward; Lee’s POW! Entertainment, run by Lee and Gill Champion; and Archie Comics. It’s set to premiere at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Saturday, Feb. 1, on the Hub Network, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively. (The kids-targeted channel has the worldwide premiere of all three movies.)

Based on the comic of the same name and described as the “first superhero reality show,” Mighty 7 features Lee as an animated version of himself, a legendary superhero creator who teaches a crew of alien prisoners and their jailers, who have crash-landed on Earth, how to work together and use their powers to be superheroes — and he in turn documents their adventures in comics. The 90-minute movie features the voices of Sean Astin, Jim Belushi, Mayim Bialik, Darren Criss, Flea, Armie Hammer, Teri Hatcher, Michael Ironside and Christian Slater.

Ahead of the movie’s premiere, Lee, 91, spoke exclusively to THR about how the idea came about, what viewers can expect and why superheroes continue to be so hot in a lively interview that included much of the comic legend’s trademark humor.

Where did you get the idea for the Mighty 7?

I was looking for something to do. I remembered the first successful superhero thing I’d done was the Fantastic Four. If that was good, what is even better than four? I thought I’d do eight, but I couldn’t find anything that rhymed beautifully with eight or sounded good. So I thought the Mighty 7 had a good sound to it. I very often start with the title and make up the story to go with it. I thought, “Boy, wouldn’t it be keen if I put myself in the story and did the world’s first reality comic book?” Then it occurred to me, what if I found seven superheroes and got them to work for me. They would do all the work, and I would just write whatever happened. I’d chronicle their adventures. It seemed like a cool idea.

Then I figured, “OK, now where did I find them?” What’s easier than having them crash-land in a spaceship from another planet where everybody has some superpower or another, and they don’t even consider it a superpower on their home planet? Everybody has something special he or she can do. So I find the guys after their ship crash-lands and say, “I tell you what. I’ll write the stories of all the adventures you have [on Earth] and turn you into superheroes.” This is the first of three movies to TV, and of course the minute those three are over, every studio will be fighting to make a live-action film [laughs].

Do you hope to turn this into a live-action film, or maybe a TV series?

It’s really up to the people handling the business end. I see it as a TV series, as live-action movies and continuing the animated movies. It’s the kind of story that kids like, and when you have something kids like, you can do it in any form as long as it does well. I’m hoping older people like it too, of course.

It also marks your first starring role.

I figured since nobody in Hollywood is going to discover me, and nobody seems to realize the potential I have in becoming the next Laurence Olivier, I’d have to do it myself and show them.