Today in io9.com, the science-fiction blog which is part of the Gawker.com online group, Alasdair Wilkins takes a look at comic books, movies, science-fiction novels, and TV shows over the last half-century which have speculated on who might be sitting in the White House from 2001 until century’s end.
He begins with Lex Luthor. The real world had the saga of Bush vs. Gore, but in the sometimes tidier universe of DC Comics, the chrome-domed entrepeneur had little difficulty winning the Presidency in 2000. However, once in office, his popularity somewhat diminished with the public. Like his real-life counterpart, Luthor’s Administration faced many challenges and crises, but old Lex was inclined to let most of these sit on the back burner while he focused his energies on annihilating Superman. (Of course, many liberals would suggest that President Bush had a similar preoccupation with Saddam Hussein in his first term.)
After a couple of minor figures from the DC universe fill out Luthor’s term once Superman straightens things out, the next President in Wilkins’s chronology is the one figure who, so far, is actually the Chief Executive in real life: Barack Obama (who has been a character in a multitude of comics lately, joining forces with a host of superheroes from Spiderman on down to defeat various villains).
After Obama comes Arnold Schwarzegger, who, as Wilkins notes, showed up as President in The Simpsons Movie. (This raises the question, still unanswered in the two years since the film’s release: why did the film’s makers posit the Gubernator as President instead of his doppelganger from the TV show, Rainer Wolfcastle?)
Wilkins follows that with a list of Presidents that includes both fictional and real names. He points out that the short-lived CBS series Century City, set circa 2030, presented a United States over which Oprah Winfrey presided. (And, though he doesn’t mention it, an episode of The Boondocks, set in the present day, concluded with Oprah announcing her candidacy.) The three Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century movies on the Disney Channel, set in 2049, portrayed an America run by Chelsea Clinton. (Hillary doesn’t show up in Wilkins’s chronology.)
During the 2080s the President is another African-American: Jim Briskin, from the late Fullerton resident Philip K. Dick’s 1966 novel The Crack In Space. (Dick, as his two biographies attest, was very interested in the Presidency, and especially in the 37th President: RN figures as “Ferris Fremont” in his Radio Free Albemuth.)
The chronology winds up in 2099 with Steve Rogers aka Captain America in charge, But never fear; as all regular viewers of Comedy Central know, just over 900 years afterwards, RN (or rather his head in a jar) will be Earth President, getting the planet through crises of varying magnitude. The Presidency of 2100 through 2999 awaits its chronicler.