The name Zartan refers to several versions of the same character.
For a list of the other versions, see Zartan.
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American politics. Governors, senators, congressmen. No wonder nothing ever gets done.

—Zartan to Destro

Zartan was the callsign of a man who was a master of disguise. An agent of Cobra, he uses his impersonation skills to advance their agenda.

He appears in the films G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.


IDW movie comics

Write up.

Rise of Cobra (2009 Movie)

Portrayed by Arnold Vosloo and Jonathan Pryce (as fake President of the United States).

Zartan is James McCullen's personal aide and assassin. In the aftermath of Cobra's failing to secure the nanomite warheads, McCullen launches a new plan. Sitting reading a copy of the Bill of Rights, Zartan expresses to McCullen his disgust for American politics, saying that nothing ever gets done. McCullen tells him that this is what they're going to fix.

Zartan at the raid on the Pit

Zartan participates in Cobra's attack on the G.I. Joe headquarters, the Pit. He infiltrates the base, posing as an M.P., and although suspected by Cover Girl, remains undetected. During the attack he killed Cover Girl by stabbing her in the back, only to have her cover the General as Hawk punches him in the face. After Storm Shadow incapacitates the General, Zartan watches the corridors for any more guards. Noting Storm Shadow's reaction, he notes that he doesn't kill women, but Storm Shadow comments hat for him he'd make an exception. He escapes the Pit by killing a traveler and stealing his clothes.

Zartan taking control of the Oval Office

He is later injected with nanomites by the Doctor, but insists on keeping his own free will. This injection allows him to change his physical appearance. During the final battle, using the missiles crisis as a cover, Zartan is sent to America where he infiltrates the White House and assumes the identity of the President of the United States as part of Cobra's plans for world domination. When Cobra targets the White House with one of the nanomite warheads, the President is evacuated to a bunker, which was built by James McCullen's company, M.A.R.S. Industries. Cobra uses one of its Neo-Vipers to infiltrate the President's Secret Service team. The Neo-Viper kills the other Secret Service members and the President's staff, then admits Zartan into the bunker, leading the President to realize just what's happening. After the crisis is resolved, Zartan glad-handles a group of reporters before entering the Oval Office, sitting at the President's desk and lounging, whistling the tune "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow."

Retaliation (2013 Movie)

Zartan quickly settles into his new role as President, his aggressive stance towards military matters making him popular with the American people. Nevertheless, he initially maintains a somewhat low profile and makes no overt moves regarding matters related to Cobra in order to deflect suspicion. He does, however, have his entire Secret Service team replaced with loyal Neo-Viper agents. Several weeks into his term, a power vacuum is created in Pakistan when Pakistan's president is murdered, resulting in a group of competing warlords vying for control of its presidency and thus, its nuclear arsenal. Zartan, as the fake President, orders the elite G.I. Joe Team, now headed by Duke Hauser, to retrieve the country's nuclear warheads. The move, however, is a setup to put them in place for an airstrike intended to destroy them. Afterwards, he brags about how things are going to the real President, whom he has kept alive in the underground bunker. He tells him that his favorite people of the job is how he gets to blow things up and that his approval rating is up nine points, saying that people want somebody in the office that "looks like you, but acts like me." He taunts him by telling him he has a plan to put the G.I. Joes "out of the picture," then tortures him for the location of the secret prison holding Cobra Commander and Destro.

Lady Jaye dancing with Zartan as the President

Following the airstrike, he meets with Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow, Cobra Commander having decided that Destro is no longer needed, as well as Firefly, who has been called in for additional manpower. There, he learns that most of the Joes actually survived the attack, much to his chagrin. Later, he attends a dinner to celebrate his planned upcoming summit with the heads of the world's nuclear nations. There, he dances with a woman claims to be "Amy Vandervoort" of FOX News. She asks him for a quote and he tells her "The world will change after my nuclear summit." Unknown to him, Vandervoort is actually Lady Jaye, a member of the G.I. Joe team. Using an analysis of his speech patterns compared with the real President, she discovered that something had changed and he was likely a fake. While dancing, she obtains a sample of his hair, which she analyzes and sends back to the other remaining G.I. Joes. She is forced to flee when she is identified by Zartan's Secret Service.

Zartan returns to the real President along with Firefly. Firefly slaps him, telling him it was for the tax hike, but Zartan stops him from roughing him up further, saying that they've "gotten close." He tells the President he's not impressed with his cabinet, then works with Cobra Commander to force him to submit to a retinal scan to open the briefcase that controls America's nuclear arsenal. The President tells him that history will stand in judgment of him, but he replies "Not of me. Of you." He then proceeds to the nuclear conference at Fort Sumter. There, he tells the gathered leaders that he asked them there with the goal of total nuclear disarmament. When they balk at this, he tells them that they will each clear out their nuclear closet immediately, or it will be considered an act of war. They say he's joking, but he points at all of them, telling them they're all at war, then launches America's nuclear weapons at each of them. As they spin into a panic, he sits calmly playing Angry Birds as they each launch their own nuclear weapons. He then shocks them by calling off America's own attack, having the missiles shot-down in mid-flight. They then abort their own launches in turn.

Zartan dies as himself

He then declares "Welcome to a nuclear free world" and puts up feeds on monitors, telling them that they are looking at live feeds of their homelands and an advanced weapons system called Project Zeus. He then drops a warhead on London, instantly destroying the town, telling them that it's "none of the fallout, and all of the fun." They declare he will have to answer for it, but then Cobra Commander appears, telling them they will have to answer for him. He lays out an ultimatum - that they will all surrender to him, or else the rest of the warheads will be dropped. Just then, however, G.I. Joe launches their assault, led by Storm Shadow, who has learned the truth regarding Zartan: that it was he who framed him for killing the Hard Master, thus inducting him into the ranks of Cobra via deception. While the Joes secure the real President and shut down the warheads, Storm Shadow pursues Zartan, eventually cornering him. He calls him out for what he did to him. Zartan's last words are to admit that he can see it was wrong, before Storm Shadow stabs him through the heart. With this, the nanomites disguising him shut down and he reverts to his true appearance, dying as himself.


Zartan was a master of disguise but he had a habit of whistling "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." He didn't hesitate to kill Cover Girl during the attack on the Pit though he later said that Storm Shadow doesn't kill women. The ninja replied that for him he would make an exception. Zartan was confident and claimed that he was born ready when he was injected with nanomites, though he also said that he wanted to control his own mind. He spent eighteen months studying the President of the United States and learning his mannerisms in preparation to masquerade as him. Despite this, while he fooled some, a careful analysis of his actions after he assumed the role of the President revealed that certain of his speech patterns were different from that of the President and he folded his hands in a different way.


Generation 3
Zartan The Rise of Cobra (2009)

Zartan was released in 2009 as part of the second series of Rise of Cobra toys.

Appearance: short blonde hair; blue camo uniform with a black MP armband; black belt; black boots; silver paint beneath eyes.

Accessories: alternate head; black backpack; blue spring-loaded missile launcher; blue missile; black rifle; silver and black sword; two silver and black knives; black display stand page/Filecard

See also

External links