Now That Arnold’s Scandal Is Out, What of The Governator? [UPDATE]

The Governator, developed by Stan Lee (artist unknown, unimportant)

In case you haven’t heard, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger secretly fathered a child with a member of his household staff nearly a decade ago. That secret was kept even from his wife, former First Lady of California Maria Shriver, until just recently. The two had announced a separation following 25 years of marriage last week just prior to the information being made public.

Yes this makes for sudsy gossip for some but what does it mean for Schwarzenegger’s plans to enter the world of comic books? At the end of March, he announced through Entertainment Weekly that a combination comic book and animated TV series would launch starring the former Hollywood action hero as a crime fighter. The character and concepts were created in collaboration with Stan Lee, co-creator of such flawed and troubled superheroes as Spider-Man and tons of other Marvel Comics characters. While Stan Lee will forever be remembered for his classic work with seminal artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in the early 1960s, he remains remarkably active today. Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment helped develop a new line of superhero comics for Boom! Studios and even superheroes for the NHL, to name just two recent projects. He’s even a prolific Twitterer.

So will this scandal sink The Governator? Perhaps cause Stan Lee to distance himself from the flawed and troubled Arnold who may no longer be the best example of a real world hero? According to the LA Times today, probably not.

An outline obtained by The Times says the lead character was to juggle the responsibilities of being an “action hero” and “family man.” One potential theme was to have been when Arnold’s mission was complicated by “remembering to buy Maria a gift for their anniversary.”

After the couple confirmed their separation last week, [Stan] Lee told the Associated Press that plans to include Shriver had been dropped, and that the break-up wouldn’t affect “anything at all, except we can probably have a lot of girls having crushes on our hero as the story goes on — which we probably would have done anyway.”

That quote, given prior to the recent revelation, seems a little harsh now in light of the scandal. For now, I’m sure all parties are waiting to see how public perception evolves, and with so much put into The Governator so far, will try to launch it anyway. If it lands on a network and makes it to print, how will it be received? Will it become the next Spider-Man, or the next Stripperella? I bet Maria Shriver has an opinion.

UPDATE, 5/20/11: This morning, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lawyers released a statement that his acting career was now on hold while he dealt with “personal matters”. That was followed by another statement from the production companies behind The Governator:

“In light of recent events, A Squared Entertainment, POW, Stan Lee Comics, and Archie Comics, have chosen to not go forward with the Governator project.”

Less than two hours later, the statement was revised to saying the project was “on hold.”

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