The Governator: A Tale of Failed Collaboration Between Stan Lee and Arnold Schwarzenegger

The year was 2011. Arnold Schwarzenegger had just ended his eight year stint as Governor of California and was now free to pursue his love of acting once again. Upon exiting office, everyone wanted a piece of his action. People were already clamoring for Arnold Terminator and Predator movies, as both franchises had struggled in his absence. These projects were quickly brushed aside, because one man wanted to bring back Schwarzenegger in a way the world had never seen before. The hype was huge, media circuses gathered trying to get an interview with this incredible team up no one saw coming. Stan Lee was bound and determined to make Schwarzenegger a superhero.

The Governator was going to be a new superhero based on Schwarzenegger's real life. With the help of his real life family, a closet of super suits, and a kid by the name of Zeke Muckerberg (not to be confused with Gill Mates or Jteve Mobs), Arnold fights crime. Together they fight the Gangsters Imposters Racketeers Liars & Irredeemable Ex-cons, or the GIRLIE men, to save the day. The whole thing sounds like a bad Robert Smigel cartoon, but I assure you it’s very real. So real, in fact, that a trailer was released to tease the cartoon show based on the comic.

So, basic plot line: Arnold leaves office, robots attack, and California is in shambles. Arnold uses a not-Green Lantern ring to get in his not-Terminator suit to ride his not-Tron light cycle to fight not-Decepticons. Oh yeah, and he has a bionic eye and that’s completely true to the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger, you’ve seen it in his movies. To be honest, many people thought this was a joke as Entertainment Weekly broke the news on April Fools Day. That should have been a sign for Stan Lee to quit while he was regarded the master of pranks, but the media circus continued. 

Lee was serious about this project. How serious was he? They featured the announcement on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. He had a comic, cartoon, video game, and animated 3D movie already in development for the project. He paid not only The Black Eyed Peas for the use of their song “Pump It” but also Larry King to appear in a three second clip for the pilot episode of the new show. So with all the money Lee put into this project, what happened?

About a month later Lee backed out due to shocking claims that Schwarzenegger had cheated on his wife Maria Shriver. Apparently the steroid allegations and rampant past sexual misconduct were no big deal to Mr. Lee at the time of the announcement, but this was unforgivable. That being said, it probably would have been in bad taste to air as early episodes focused on Arnold being a “good husband” and going on vacations with his family on the heels of an announcement he had another family with a staff member and was supporting them financially.

Outside of the lovely magazine cover, and that three minute trailer, no public footage of The Governator exists on the web. It's likely for the best, as it would’ve been an uncomfortable smear on the life of an otherwise well respected comic guru and just flat out awful.

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