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Commandresses in Chief: The top 12 female presidents in science-fiction

Contributed by
Jun 30, 2016

Ah, election season. The seemingly never-ending circus of insanity hasn’t even hit peak madness yet. Whether or not politics is your thing, you have to admit this year has been pretty entertaining, to say the least. It’s also been rather historical, for better or worse, as we have a reality star and the first female nominee of a major political party running for POTUS.

As always, science fiction is the fertile ground in which imagination and innovation grow. Sadly, up to this point, having a female president was equal to flying cars, robot citizens, and traveling at light speed. But if history and Star Trek have taught us anything, it’s that sometimes the things birthed in the darkest corners of one’s imagination become reality. Since we seem to be slowly inching toward electing our first female president, what better time to look at the women who have (sort of) come before her? Will Hillary be anything like these famous fictional leaders who held the highest office in the land? [Editor's note from 2019: Sigh.]

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President Lanford - Independence Day: Resurgence

We don't learn much about Lanford, but being POTUS during an alien invasion in a subpar sequel is enough stress to make anyone want to call out of work. Permanently. 

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Madame President- Project Moonbase

Project Moonbase is a B sci-fi film from the '50s that was set in the futuristic '70s -- a time when, according to the '50s, space travel looked like people lying on hospital gurneys and wearing shorts to explore the moon. But, thanks to Mystery Science Theater 3000, Project Moonbase went from a barely known film from yesteryear to a barely known, highly mocked film of yesteryear. In addition to its impressive special effects and dazzling set design, the film did have a female president.

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President Jennifer Capper - Kingdom Come

In Elliot S. Maggin’s novelization of Mark Waid & Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come, Jennifer Capper was elected without even running for office. While she was in office, a nuclear disaster took place, a byproduct of a clash of superhumans in Kansas. It takes a charming individual to get a job they didn't even apply for.

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President Margaret Valentine - Y: The Last Man

The former secretary of agriculture, Valentine becomes POTUS after the other ranking woman in the chain of succession is killed in a plane crash. She is re-elected, which she attributes to no one knowing who Oprah Winfrey is. 

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President of United States/Vril Sarah Palin - Iron Sky

Stephanie Paul’s Palin-esque commander in chief is up for re-election when a bunch of Nazis are discovered on the dark side of the moon and pose an eventual threat to Earth. Chaos ensues, leading to an eventual all-out nuclear war between pretty much everyone on the planet. But, somehow, Paul’s character survives and possibly thrives, as she’s very much still president in the proposed upcoming sequel Iron Sky 2: The Coming Race. None of this is to say she has very good leadership skills, but she is still alive by the end of Iron Sky, which is more than can be said for someone else on this list.

President of Earth

President of Earth - Doctor Who 

When Orgon mercenaries were trying to instigate a war between Draconia and Earth, the planet was being led by a woman. Despite her advisors itching to take a more offensive approach towards Draconia, she refused to pull a Han Solo and shoot first.

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Natasi Daala - Star Wars (Extended Universe)

Natasi Daala was the first Human admiral in the Imperial Navy and later became Chief of State of the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances. Daala was the protege of Moff Tarkin, so that should give you a pretty solid idea of her politics. After learning of Tarkin and Palpatine’s deaths, she took revenge by wrecking havoc on the galaxy, until a certain smuggler stole her Sun Crusher. Despite her being a bad guy - or girl - her tenacity and resume are impressive; most impressive.

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Nova Prime Irani Rael - Guardians of the Galaxy

Technically, Nova Prime isn’t president, but it’s the closest thing Xandarians have to it. As the head of the Nova Corps, Nova Prime has the most access to the Nova Force, which enables her to manipulate energy. Despite her power, Irani’s main focus is to keeping the peace between the Kree and Xandarians.

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President Coin - Hunger Games

Initially, Coin seemed the ally Katniss and the rebellion needed. But by the second half of Mockingjay, it was evident that Coin was just as bad as President Snow and was ultimately using the rebellion against the Capitol for her own revenge. Despite eventually causing Prim's death, Coin was instrumental in rescuing Katniss and the other victors from the games and gave the rebellion the boost and strength it needed to challenge and overtake the Capitol, even if it was under false pretenses.

Her rise to power was short-lived once Katniss kills her upon realizing her plans to continue the Hunger Games. 

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Laura Roslin - Battlestar Galactica

Not unlike President Margaret Valentine, teacher-turned-President Laura Roslin came to office by literally being one of the last politicians alive. After the Cylons attacked the 13 Colonies, Roslin was sworn in and fought to keep her position and find Earth, all while battling breast cancer and the threat of another Cylon attack. Roslin proved to be a shrewd, and at times ruthless, politician. 

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Mon Mothma - Star Wars

There’s a reason why fans are extra stoked about the presence of Mon Mothma in Rogue One: She’s the quintessential intergalactic boss b****. Think of Mothma as the Elizabeth Warren of Star Wars. She was one of the founders of the Rebel Alliance and had been in staunch opposition of Palpatine since her time in the Senate. After helping plan the Battle of Endor, Mothma went on to be named the first Chief of State of the New Republic.

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Leia Organa - Star Wars

Princess. Huttslayer. General. President. That’s right, the HBIC in the galaxy was the actual Head B**** for a bit. In addition to being a key member of the Rebel Alliance, putting up with Han’s nonsense ( and I mean that in the nicest way possible), coming to terms with her father being Vader and that she once kissed her secret twin, and having a kid (or is it kids *cough* Rey *cough*), Leia succeeded Mothma, becoming the second Chief of State of the New Republic. And who says ladies can’t have and do it all?

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