The United Presidents Of Sci-Fi

With election fever in the air let’s celebrate some science fiction and fantasy presidents you never voted for. Surprisingly for such a forward-thinking genre, the majority have been male and white. But there are a few exceptions.

Anyway, here’s SFX ‘s totally random guide to 51 SF US Presidents from the movies and TV. One for each State and one for spare.

Film: Armageddon (1998)
President: Unnamed
Played by: Stanley Anderson
Political Career: Authorises a space mission to attempt to destroy a meteor which is heading to Earth.

Film: Superman 2 (1980)
President: Unnamed
Played by: EG Marshall
Political Career: Forced to kneel before Zod.

Film: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
President: Unnamed
Played by: Robert Beatty
Political Career: Ruined by appearing in a rubbish film.

Film: Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002)
President: Unnamed
Played by: Christopher McDonald
Political Career: Oversees a band of secret teen agents.

Film: Spy Kids 3D: Game Over (2003)
President: Delvin
Played by: George Clooney
Political Career: See above.

Film: Captain America (1990)
President: Tom Kimball
Played by: Ronny Cox
Political Career: The target of a kidnap attempt by The Red Skull

Film: Meteor (1979)
President: Unnamed
Played by: Henry Fonda
Political Career: Had to deal with a meteor heading towards Earth.

Film: Deep Impact (1998)
President: Tom Beck
Played by: Morgan Freeman
Political Career: With a comet heading towards Earth he instigates the Messiah project to attempt to destroy it. When it succeeds, he must assume another term in office is a cinch.

Film: The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
President: Blake
Played by: Perry King
Political Career: Dies, possibly from Hypothermia, when an environmental disaster causes a big freeze in the US.

Film: The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
President: Raymond Becker
Played by: Kenneth Welsh
Political Career: Successor to President Blake, who opposed the evacuation of the US in the wake of the big freeze.

Film: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
President: Widmark
Played by: Ronald Lacey
Political Career: Bedridden president who declares war on the Soviet Union instead of just waiting for it to collapse.

Film: The Fifth Element (1997)
President: Lindberg
Played by: Tom Lister Jr
Political Career: Actually president of the United Federated Territories, but it’s near enough.

Film: Mars Attacks! (1996)
President: James Dale
Played by: Jack Nicholson
Political Career: President during First Contact. Disintegrated by Martians.

Film: Escape From New York (1981)
President: White
Played by: Donald Pleasence
Political Career: Has to be rescued from the prison that New York has turned into after he plane crash lands there.

Film: Escape From LA (1996)
President: Jack Cahill
Played by: Cliff Robertson
Political Career: Radical Christian President who bans smoking, alcoholic beverages, red meat, owning firearms, profanity, non-Christian religions (including atheism), and non-marital sex. Fun, fun, fun.

Film: Independence Day (1996)
President: Thomas J Whitmore
Played by: Bill Pullman
Political Career: A former fighter pilot, he flew his troops into battle against aliens. Could give a rousing speech.

Film: Doctor Strangelove (1964)
President: Merkin Muffley
Played by: Peter Sellers
Political Career: Indecisive president whose prevarication lead to nuclear war. Had a really impressive war room, though.

Film: X2: X-Men United (2003)
President: McKenna
Played by: Cotter Smith
Political Career: Survives an assassination attempt by a blue-skinned mutant known as Nightcrawler.

Film: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
President: Unnamed
Played by: Josef Sommer
Political Career: In power amidst to avert a human/mutant war.

TV Show: Stargate SG-1 “2010” (2001)
President: Robert Kinsey
Played by: Ronny Cox
Political Career: Vice President under Kinsey, he became president in an alternate timeline.

TV Show: Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, various episodes
President: Henry Hayes
Played by: William Devane
Political Career: Worrying about whether the Stargate project is worth all those funds.

TV Show: Stargate SG-1 “The Road Not Taken”
President: Hank Landry
Played by: Beau Bridges
Political Career: Even Stargate’s boss becomes Pres in yet another alternate future. He reveals the existence of the Stargate, declares martial law and cancels elections. Reagan would have been proud.

TV Show: The Outer Limits “The Hundred Days Of The Dragon” (1963)
President: William Lyons Selby
Played by: Sidney Blackmoor
Political Career: Secretly replaced by an impostor from the inscrutable Orient with a malleable face.

TV Show: The Outer Limits: “Trial By Fire” (1996)
President: Charles Halsey
Played by: Robert Foxworth
Political Career: A peace-loving liberal faced with an alien invasion and bloodthirsty advisors.

TV Show: The Outer Limits “Decompression” (2000)
President: Wyndom Brody
Played by: Bruce Boxleitner
Political Career: A tyrannical president from an alternate future which is prevented when a lying time travelling convinces the younger Brody to throw himself from a plane. (Boxleitner was later promoted to President of the Interstellar Alliance in Babylon 5)

TV Show: Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea (1964), Lost In Space (1965)
President: Henry Talbot Macneil
Played by: Ford Rainey
Political Career: America’s longest-serving president, since in Voyage it’s said he was elected in 1972, and he’s still around for the launch of the Jupiter 2 in 1997 in the Lost In Space pilot episode.

TV Show: Lost In Space (1965)
President: Unnamed
Played by: Ford Rainey
Political Career: See Above

TV Show: Heroes, “Five Years Gone” (2007)
President: Nathan Petrelli
Played by: Adrian Pasdar
Political Career: Dodgy President from an alternate future, he was actually Sylar in disguise. Not a good time to be a mutant.

TV Show: Project Moonbase (1953)
President: Unnamed
Played by: Ernestine Barrier
Political Career: In power in the early 1970s when American sends a mission to the moon to see if moonbases are possible

Film: Bicentennial Man (1999)
President: Marjorie Bota
Played by: Lynne Thigpen
Political Career: Becomes involved in a robot’s quest to prove that he is a sentient being.

TV Show: Dallas
President: Cliff Barnes
Played by: Ken Kercheval
Political Career: Okay, Dallas isn’t really SFX territory… usually. But in the last episode a being who may be the Devil does an It’s A Wonderful Life vibe on JR Ewing, and the in the alternate JR-less universe, JR’s bitter rival Cliff Barnes gets the number one job.

Film: Whoops Apocalypse (1986)
President: Barbara Adams
Played by: Loretta Swit
Political Career: Tries to sort out the mess when a small British island group is invaded by a communist neighbour.

Film: Whoops Apocalypse (1986)
President: Jack “Kill The Commies” Preston
Played by: Murray Hamilton
Political Career: A bit of an extremist, voted out in favour of Barbara Adams.

TV Show: Whoops Apocalypse (1982)
President: Johnny Cyclops
Played by: Barry Morse
Political Career: A Republican in the Reagan mould, Cylcops was a former screen actor, recently lobotomized, and often depicted as being a puppet controlled by his security advisor, the Deacon. To regain popularity he engineers World War III.

TV Show: Sliders “The Weaker Sex” (1995)
President: Hillary Clinton
Played by: Teresa Barnwell
Political Career: Poor old Hillary. She only ever got the top job in an alternate reality where women rule the world. Apparently. (Teresa Barnwell is a professional Mrs Clinton lookalike who’s appeared in a number of TV shows in that role).

TV Show: Lois And Clark “Meet John Doe” (1997), “Lois and Clarks”
President: John Doe
Played by: Lane Davies
Political Career: Was, in fact, the nefarious time traveller Tempus, so his policies probably weren’t much troubled by green issues.

TV Show: Lois And Clark “I Now Pronounce You…” (1996), “Meet John Doe” (1997), “Lois and Clarks”(1997)
President: Garner
Played by: Fred Willard
Political Career: Was briefly replaced by a frog-eating clone impersonator.

Film: The Puppet Masters (1994)
President: Unnamed
Played by: President Douglas
Political Career: Had to deal with an America invaded by mind-controlling slugs.

TV Show: Earth II (1971)
President: Charles Carter Durant
Played by: Lew Ayers
Political Career: Near future president in power when Earth II, a space station built for the purpose of scientific research and world peace, is launched.

Film: Scary Movie 3 (2003), Scary Movie 4 (2006)
President: Baxter Harris
Played by: Leslie Nielsen
Political Career: Bumbling president (it’s Nielsen – shocker) faced with an alien invasion.

TV Show: Seven Days, nine episode (1998-2001)
President: Maxwell
Played by: Holmes Osborne
Political Career: Got in to all kinds of political scrapes, but strangely survived them all (possibly thanks to the fact that he was in power when Operation Back Set went live – time travel can be very useful…

TV Show: Lexx, season four (2001)
President: Reginald J Priest
Played by: Rolf Kanies
Political Career: President in the near future, he’s incompetence, cowardly, sex-crazed, lazy and with a gross lack of ethics, he once blew up Orlando.

Film: The Dead Zone
President: Greg Stillson
Played by: Martin Sheen
Political Career: Dodgy geezer whose rise to presidency and role in starting a nuclear Armageddon is foreseen by a psychic.

TV Show: The Dead Zone (2002-7)
President: Greg Stillson
Played by: Sean Patrick Flanery
Political Career: Different dodgy geezer whose rise to presidency and role in starting a nuclear Armageddon is foreseen by a different psychic.

TV Show: Jericho. “Condor” (2008)
President: John Tomarchio
Played by: George Newbern
Political Career: Became President after the nuclear attacks which wrecked the country, being one of the few survivors who held office beforehand (a junior State Senator from Wyoming). He actually only became leader of US territories west of the Mississippi, and was heading towards civil war with the eastern states.

TV Show: Doctor Who “The Sound Of Drums” (2007)
President: Arthur Coleman Winters
Played by: Colin Stinton
Political Career: Actually was only ever President Elect, having been killed by the Toclafane before taking office.

TV Show: Flashforward (2009)
President: President David Segovia
Played by: Peter Coyote
Political Career: Presided over an America where the entire human race has a blackout for one minute and 17 seconds, during which each individual has a glimpse of their future. Segovia presumably witnesses swift cancellation.

TV Show: The Event (2010)
President: President Elias Martinez
Played by: Blair Underwood
Political Career: At the start of the series he’s an idealistic new President shocked to learn that his security forces and government are keeping secrets form him… such as the existence of aliens. It looks like his tenure is going to be cut short when someone attempts to crash a plane into one of press conferences, but the plane handily vanished into a vortex just before it hits. Phew. Close thing. But his career didn’t last that much longer, because…

TV Show: The Event (2010)
President: President Raymond Jarvis
Played by: Bill Smitrovich
Political Career: Was vice-President under Elias Martinez, and got the top job after poisoning his boss. But it wasn’t his fault. The aliens made him do it.

TV Show: Doctor Who “The End Of Time” (2009-10)
President: President Master
Played by: John Simm
Political Career: The Master actually became everybody in the world (with a few exceptions) but we specifically saw him take over President Obama’s body and make good (for good, re: evil) use of his new position of power. He was presumably Silvio Berlusconi at the same time, so it wasn’t all work, work, work. There was room for some fun as well.

TV Show: 2012 (2009)
President: President Thomas Wilson
Played by: Danny Glover
Political Career: President when the apocalypse hit. Bummer.

Presidents mentioned but not seen:
President Charles – Jericho (killed in a nuclear attack)
President FXJKHR – Futurama (was 60th President (of either Earth or the US)
President Mordecai –2010: Odyssey Two (drawn as the likeness of Arthur C. Clarke on a magazine cover)
President Richard Starkey – The Postman (Richard Starkey is the real name of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr)

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