‘John Carter’ Featurette: An Introduction to the Classic Sci-Fi Franchise

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2012 at 12:10 pm,

john carter introduction featurette John Carter Featurette: An Introduction to the Classic Sci Fi Franchise

The inherent irony of certain moviegoers’ responses to early footage shown from Disney’s John Carter adaptation – wherein they dismiss the film’s thematic elements and aesthetic as variations on those featured in the Star Wars franchise (itself, a direct descendant of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter source material) – has not been lost on readers well-versed in the area of classic science-fiction literature.

Today, we have a new John Carter featurette that includes interviews with the film’s cast and production crew – including, the film’s Oscar-winning co-writer/director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) and second unit director/co-writer Mark Andrews (Star Wars: Clone Wars) – actually going into detail about the highly influential and trend-setting nature of Burrough’s original Carter books.

John Carter is based primarily on the Burrough’s novel, “A Princess of Mars”, and chronicles the adventures of its namesake (Taylor Kitsch), a Civil War vet haunted by the loss of his family, who finds himself inexplicably transported to Mars.

There, he discovers yet another world suffering from internal warfare, and joins forces with aliens such as the beautiful humanoid Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), along with the 12-foot-tall green-skinned Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe, via motion-capture performance) – in the hopes of bringing peace to the troubled Martian civilization.

Check out the “Introduction” featurette for John Carter below:



Disney has focused primarily on playing up the grand-scale action sequences and dazzling visuals offered by John Carter in its marketing campaign for the film. However, side elements relating to how the film reflects the nature of Burrough’s source material – which bears the hallmarks of classic Victorian literature, but also offers a more unrestrained and “modern” portrayal of sci-fi tropes – are (arguably) more interesting.

That aspect has received less attention during Disney’s marketing blitz so far, in part because John Carter refashions its source material so as to offer a more appealing mix of family-friendly humor with PG-13 levels of violence (and just a touch of risque material) that attempts to replicate the Pirates of the Caribbean movies’ formula for success.

Whether or not the history behind the John Carter property will help the Mouse House’s feature adaptation to fly high where other would-be franchise starters fell flat (like Prince of Persia) – that remains to be seen.


John Carter opens in U.S. theaters (2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D) on March 9th, 2012.

Source: Walt Disney Pictures

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  1. Any one actually planning on seeing this? Any one at all?

    • Yeah, me. Even if I’m the only one!

      People actually pay money to see the awful “Star Wars” prequels again in 3D, they ought to try this instead.

      • I’m going to see it. Hope other people give it a chance as well, though if it turned out bad I could see why they wouldn’t. Still, I’ve been reading good things from those who have gone to early screenings.

      • You don’t know how badly these re releases of star wars piss me off.

        • Me too buddy. The further Tampering with the “Star Wars” original trilogy Blu-ray has completely soured my fandom.

          • I mean why a re-release. Why keep tampering with the pass? WHY NOT EXBAND THE UNIVERSE!?

            You know how much I would love to see a movie adaption of The old republic series from Bioware? Not the same story from the game’s… or the like what 10 from the mmo? but the same time period. Or… or a Darth maul spin off!

            Any ways back on topic of john carter. I under stand that this is based off a classic litterateur from over a hundred years ago… but… but… So was war of the worlds and while a good scary scifi movie. It’s no master piece.

            And I am not expecting this movie to be some master peice ether. Even if it did give inspiration for some of the scifi movies out there.

    • I’m on the fence about it. The deviation from the source material is highly irritating but yet the movie in general looks ok. Hard to gauge if I can get past that for the money it will cost (plus all the other movies I “have” to see this year).

      I will at the very least Redbox it.

    • Yes, I am. I’ve been a fan of the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories all my life, and I don’t mind if they take a couple of liberties; this looks like a damned fun movie.

      • They are taking more than a “couple” liberties though. ;)

    • Sure,that movie looks fantastic !
      I am in first day !

      Just…what really clear is already,the movie will bomb,sadly !
      No Sequels …what a pity !

  2. They are really trying to distance themselves from the people comparing it to “Star Wars” and “Avatar”, or at least trying to set the record straight.

    It seems like they’ve changed a hell of a lot. The Tharks for example seem a hell of a lot friendlier. I really hope this is gonna be a surprise success for Disney, because I’m not sure how positive the buzz for this movie is.

    I hope it’s successful enough to get a kick-ass range of action figures. Kids would love this stuff.

    • Bio above is an example of the negative buzz that seems to be around this movie.

      • Sorry motoko while I love scifi movies this look extremely uninteresting.

        • Yeah, the movie to the book that inspired almost every epic science fiction today looks extremely uninteresting. YOUR OPINION.

          • Yes its my opinion no need to remind me that it’s my opinion… And no I doubt it inspired EVERY science fiction movie out there.

            • Well indirectly maybe. That is, Burroughs inspired writers in the next generation and those writers inspired writers and movie makers in the next generation.

              I would say that one of the most influential writers, who never gets any credit, was Andre Norton. Star wars feels so much like one of her juvenile SF novels and Avatar does as well.

              • See that makes more sense then saying “ALL SCIFI MOVIES WENT TO JOHN CARTER FOR INSPIRATION!”

                I mean come on. Even this little vigilante/ scifi space story I am writing in my film class was inspired when I got hooked on the video game mass effect and the creators of mass effect drew there inspiration from blade runner.

  3. i think itll be worth checking out. maybe in theaters, probably on dvd

  4. Stanton is a one of the Pixar masters, and they work the story like no one else. Add that to his mastery of the digital realm, and you’ve really got some big prospects. (Pixar helmers can’t make the transfer to live action? Talk to Brad Bird about that.) I expect, at minimum, JC will be a first-class action flick; and it might surprise by being even more. I’m certainly going to see it soon after release.

    • It might be all right but I see a couple problems already. Namely the two lead actors don’t fit their rolls.

      John Carter is a southern gentleman and civil war veteran but I hear no southern accent and his physique isn’t too good. He’s also a little too baby faced. Deja Thoris is supposed to have redish brown skin and be very exotic and beautiful. The actress just doesn’t have the goods.

      • I totally agree re: character/actor selection for this film. If there was a casting director responsible, I would have that individual dragged out and shot — figuratively, of course. Burroughs’ John Carter was drawn as a world-weary former warrior, proud but beaten, one of millions on the losing side of the greatest conflict this nation had ever experienced. When the magazine serial premiered in 1912, that war-weariness still resonated with readers — and authors. Mr. Kitch is at once both too “modern” and ten years too young for the role. As to Ms. Collins: Though Burroughs never stated it, his template for Dejah Thoris read like a woman on the order of a Helen of Troy, “ethereal” and a completely “self-possessed”, the proud progeny of the ten thousand year old House of Helium. Sorry, but I don’t see it in Ms. Collins, and such short-sightedness is a galring fault that cannot be easily overlooked, nor completely forgiven.