Walt Disney Pictures has been working harder to heighten awareness of John Carter, its upcoming adaptation of Edgar Rich Burrough’s famous sci-fi/fantasy literary series. The studio has released numerous images and a full-length trailer to promote the expensive, CGI-heavy project.

Today, we have a trio of new banners for John Carter to share with you, along with a straightforward explanation from Oscar-winning director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL·E) as to how the project’s title evolved from A Princess of Mars (ie. the title of Burrough’s first John Carter novel) to John Carter of Mars –  and then, just John Carter.

First, check out the official synopsis for John Carter:

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.

The film’s latest one-sheets offer a better look at many of its extraterrestrial characters, including the giant White Apes, the aforementioned 12-foot tall Martian inhabitants (which are motion-capture creations), and other multi-limbed, leathery-skinned CGI beasts that roam the Martian landscape in John Carter.

Check them out below:

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With regards to the film’s title – Stanton previously managed to address the dropping of… “of Mars”, without actually talking about the logic behind the move. Most people have assumed it was largely due to Disney’s fear that “Mars” had become a taboo word, in the wake of its costly box office flop, Mars Needs Moms. However, Stanton has indicated there was much more to the decision than just that (sort of) knee-jerk reaction.

Here is what he said (via Bleeding Cool):

“Here’s the real truth of it. I’d already changed it from ‘A Princess Of Mars’ to ‘John Carter Of Mars’. I don’t like to get fixated on it, but I changed ‘Princess Of Mars’… because not a single boy would go. And then the other truth is, no girl would go to see ‘John Carter Of Mars’. So I said, “I don’t won’t to do anything out of fear, I hate doing things out of fear, but I can’t ignore that truth.

“All the time we were making this big character story which just so happens to be in this big, spectacular new environment. But it’s not about the spectacle, it’s about the investment. I thought, I’ve really worked hard to make all of this an origin story. It’s about a guy becoming John Carter. So I’m not misrepresenting what this movie is, it’s ‘John Carter’. ‘Mars’ is going to stick on any other film in the series. But by then, it won’t have a stigma to it.”

Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and John Carter (Taylor Kitsch)

All things considered, it’s easy (and not unfair) to accuse both Stanton and Disney of being sexist, when it comes to the aforementioned assumptions about both male and female moviegoer habits. The counter-argument, of course, is that the minds behind John Carter know that mainstream ticket buyers are (by and large) not familiar with Burrough’s highly-inspirational source material; so, they’ve decided to “play it safe” and release the film under a title that should avoid ostracizing people, if stereotypes are anything to rely on (take that as you will).

Disney is definitely going to employ a marketing blitz for John Carter, simply because the project cost some $200-250 million (rumored estimates peg the price as maybe even twice that amount, believe it or not). Despite its “more marketable title,” one has to wonder if John Carter will end up following in the footsteps of this past summer’s costly (failed) sci-fi gamble, Cowboys & Aliens – especially since the latest footage released from the film didn’t look so promising (in our opinion, of course)…

John Carter is slated to hit 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters around the U.S. on March 9th, 2012.

Source: iTunes, Bleeding Cool