When Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped down as governor of California in January after nearly eight years in office, he made Hollywood a promise: he’ll be back. Now, the actor-turned-politician is teaming up with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee to create The Governator, a children’s comic book and television series featuring Schwarzenegger’s crime-fighting alter ego. The Governator will battle the evil G.I.R.L.I.E. Men (Gangsters, Imposters, Racketeers, Liars and Irredeemable Ex-cons) with the help of a uniquely talented teenage quartet, including Zeke Muckerberg, a 13-year-old computer genius inspired by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Political pundits first nicknamed Schwarzenegger “the Governator”—a play on his popular Terminator movies—when he ran for office in 2003. Though sometimes used negatively by critics, Schwarzenegger told Entertainment Weekly he’s fond of the moniker: “When I ran for governor back in 2003 and I started hearing people talking about ‘the Governator,’ I thought the word was so cool,” he says. “The word ‘Governator’ combined two worlds: the world of politics and the movie world. And [the comic] brings everything together.”
Since leaving the governor’s Sacramento mansion, Schwarzenegger has maintained a presence on the international political scene. While en route to Cannes last week, the long-time Republican met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and addressed Conservative MPs before attending former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s star-studded 80th birthday party at Royal Albert Hall.
Schwarzenegger also used his most recent U.K. trip to make amends with London Mayor Boris Johnson. The pair had a falling out in 2007 when Schwarzenegger was heard whispering to his aides about Johnson “fumbling all over the place” as he waited to address a Tory conference via video link. The clip went viral; Johnson dismissed Schwarzenegger as a “monosyllabic Austrian cyborg.” Now, Schwarzenegger and Johnson discussed teaming up for a promotional campaign aimed at boosting sports participation leading up to the 2012 Olympics. The two also took a lunchtime bike ride to promote Barclays Cycle Hire, a bicycle sharing scheme informally known as “Boris bikes.”
The environment continues to be a passion for Schwarzenegger, who won praise for his efforts to reduce California’s carbon emissions during his time as governor. Though critics chastised him for lacking a coherent economic plan and failing to address the state’s housing crisis, he pushed through two bills creating the first U.S. cap on greenhouse gas emissions as part of a plan to reduce California’s emissions by 25 per cent by 2020.
With several fresh scripts on his desk, Schwarzenegger told the Financial Times he’s also ready to develop a number of entertainment projects: “At the same time, I will continue doing policy stuff, environmental stuff, trying to move the U.S. to an energy policy for the future,” he said, denying the desire to trade his new-found superhero status for a mundanely mortal desk job. “I’m not interested in a job in Washington… but I’m more than happy to help.”