‘John Carter’ D23 Footage and Panel

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 6th, 2013 at 2:18 pm,

Disney’s D23 Expo was held this past weekend, showcasing preview footage and panels for upcoming Disney movies like Marvel’s The Avengers, Pixar’s Brave and Jason Segel’s new Muppets movie.

In addition to those offerings, Disney’s adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’  John Carter was featured at the expo, in order to give fans and media a first real look at the live-action/CGI blockbuster.

First, check out the synopsis for John Carter and then we’ll get into the details of the D23 presentation:

Civil War vet John Carter (Taylor Kitsch)  is transplanted to Mars, where he discovers a lush, wildly diverse planet whose main inhabitants are 12-foot tall green barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), Princess of Helium, who is in desperate need of a savior.

According to Superhero Hype, the breakdown of footage shown during the panel included the following:


  • John Carter (Kitsch) waking up on Mars disoriented. He stumbles to high ground and discovers a rock with mysterious markings on it. The rock is filled with eggs that then hatch baby Thark aliens (the tall green aliens).
  • Thark riders approach John Carter, who doesn’t notice the presence of Thark alien Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) at first. Freaked out, Carter jumps away, discovering that Mars’ lower gravity gives him abilities he never dreamed of (that big leap seen in the John Carter teaser trailer).
  • The riders attack Carter, who hides behind cover. Tars Tarkas calms his brethren down, and drops the weapons clutched in his four arms to approach Carter peacefully. The pair manage a brief first encounter.
  • Tars Tarkas requests to see Carter’s mega-leap again, and Carter uses the request to jump the alien hordes and grab some of Tarkas’ discarded weapons. The rest of the Thark riders pull their guns and Tarkas shields John Carter from the oncoming onslaught. Cut to black as Tarkas screams.


  • John Carter held captive by the Tharks. He uses his newfound strength to pull his chains loose, but is confronted by a dog-lizard alien who stands guard over him. Carter leaps from platform to platform, but the dog/lizard can run as fast as he can leap, making the scene a sci-fi-style chase sequence.
John Carter Lynn Collins Taylor Kitsch John Carter D23 Footage and Panel

Lynn Collins and Taylor Kitsch in ‘John Carter’


  • A meeting between Carter and Dejah Thoris (Collins) in the princess’s bed chamber. Carter implores her not to marry the man she is betrothed to (for political reasons) and she questions why she shouldn’t. Carter starts to speak but something (reportedly a wedding band on his own hand) stops him. Dejah pulls out a pendant that Carter presumably had on him when coming to Mars, and she tells him that all he needs to do in order to return home is recite a series of sounds. Carter repeats the chant and the pendant glows, just as guards storm the door. Dejah says the last of the chant, the guards break in, but Carter is nowhere to be found.


  • John Carter and Tarkas are in a gladiator arena. Tarkas is injured and Carter is chained to a rock that even his newfound strength can’t overcome. The Tharks are the ones running the arena and they release a huge white ape into the arena (see pic above). The ape has two legs and four arms and its vision is apparently limited as it sniffs the air and picks up Tarkas’ scent. Carter redirects the beast’s attention by banging his chains against the ground. A bored-looking Thark leader casually commands that that “the other one” be released into the arena to up the carnage. Cut to black.
johncarterofmars John Carter D23 Footage and Panel

Some of the creatures of ‘John Carter’


In attendance at the John Carter panel were cast members Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch, and Willem Dafoe, along with director Andrew Stanton (WALL•E, Finding Nemo). Stanton would later joke backstage to Superhero Hype that he initially thought that a live-action film would take less time to make than an animated one; however, such was not the case with John Carter:

“I assumed that live-action would move faster than animation and was used to being on films that could last up to four years. This is just a few months shy of that by the end of my time with it. It’s actually way more familiar than I thought it would be.”

Kitsch agreed with that sentiment, claiming that it was strange to finally be seeing the end result of all the work he put in in front of green screens and people outfitted in motion-capture suits – the actual, fully-realized world of John Carter on Mars:

“You feel like you’re sharing in some kind of journey that we all undertook…It’s an exciting time to finally share all this.”

For more from the cast, be sure to head over to Superhero Hype.

John Carter will be in 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX theaters on March 9, 2012.

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  1. Looking forward to this. Thanks for the synopsis Kofi.

  2. When I saw the title I actually thought I was going to see some footage. I got really excited. But no, I have to read it. Oh well, looking forward to this movie a lot!

    • Sorry Magnus, everything at D23 (Avengers, Pixar, Muppets, John Carter, etc…) was shown behind tightly closed doors with no cameras or cellphones or any electronic devices permitted. I wouldn’t bet on any footage making it online until Disney officially releases it. Text descriptions are the most we’re getting right now.

  3. WOW

    They have actually taken the first book, A Princess Of Mars, and adapted it over almost verbatim except for the necklace part. Burroughs never explained how or why Carter was teleported to Mars he left it more of a mystery.

    I am truly impressed that Stanton has taken the unique step of bucking the hollywood tried and true formula for failure by changing everything about the original source material in favor of a hollywood version. If he can make the cities and culture of Barsoom believable I for one will be very satisfied. This gives me hope the movie will live up to most of my expectations.

    • Well, they’ve also changed the stuff about everybody being buck naked, but since it doesn’t actually add or subtract anything from the story it doesn’t matter.

      • Yes I meant to mention that they added clothes, since when John Carter appears on Mars he is naked, where in the film he is fully clothed. The book had him leaving his physical body behind in a cave. Burroughs didnt have a problem explaining that the Barsoomians wore harnesses and other accutraments but little in the form of clothes as they were proud of their bodies.

  4. I think the white ape is really Goku in his Super Saiyan 6 transformation! lol

    • KA-ME-AME-HA!

      • S’okay, just cut his tail off and he shrinks back to his regular self. ^-^

  5. I read all those Burroughs Mars books when I was a teenager and loved them; never did get into reading Tarzan. Looking forward to this movie version very much.

    • I read the original Tarzan, and it was OK, but had no interest in reading the rest, I’d rather see the movies when I was younger. I did read one or two of the Mars series, and they were passable, so i will definitely give this a watch on Netflix when it comes out.

  6. Super psyched for this one

  7. John Carter still needs a hair cut. But I’ll toss some cash to see this. However since I’ve indulged myself with with reading all the books and the first five twice now I’m going to have to plead guilty of being obsessively picky.

    • I always pictured Carter as having hair to his collar since he didnt have scissors to cut his hair among the Tharks. It was never stated he cut his hair to keep with the style of earth.