WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN #19 | John Carter of Mars

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN #19 | John Carter of Mars

As a fan of film, I love exploring behind the scenes. Reading about the production process, the special effects and the stories of what could have been.

John Carter was the lead character in the first novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, set on a fictionalized version of Mars known as Barsoom. This novel was originally serialized when it was first published in 1912.

Years later with the advent of film, there were may attempts to adapt the story for the screen. In fact there are too many to write about here and if you are interested further, I highly recommend this article over at i09.

As we all know ‘John Carter’, directed by Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Nemo), finally hit our theater screens in 2012, but unfortunately is wasn’t well received and made a big loss for Disney.

Stanton wasn’t the first to try his hand at filming this classic science fiction tale.

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After many years of Disney holding the rights, they finally let them lapse and Paramount purchased them in 2002. In 2003, Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City) signed onto direct but soon had to drop out. To replace him Paramount brought in Kerry Conran who’s only film to date was ‘Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow’. For whatever reason he was replaced with John Favreau (Iron Man, Chef) in 2005, but time ran out and in 2006 Paramount let the film rights lapse.

In this edition of ‘What Could Have Been…’ it’s Kerry Conran’s vision of ‘John Carter of Mars’ that were interested in. His work on ‘Sky Captain’ was quite advanced for the time with the entire film being shot using the blue-screen process with no practical sets being constructed. In essence this would make him a great candidate for bringing to life the tale of an American Civil War captain who is unwillingly transported to Mars.

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Conran’s presentation reel for the project has been online for a few years now but it was of a low quality. Whilst many elements look very similar to Andrew Stanton’s 2012 version, I can only assume this is because both directors were staying true to the source material and accurately following the descriptions from the novels.

Recently Harry Knowles (who worked with Paramount on this project), of the famous film website Ain’t It Cool News, uploaded this glorious high definition version so we all could see what could’ve been.


John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves film, and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990s. Whilst that website became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. He's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.

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