Andrew Stanton Reveals Titles of Would-Be ‘John Carter’ Sequels

Published 11 months ago by

Lynn Collins and Taylor Kitsch in John Carter1 Andrew Stanton Reveals Titles of Would Be John Carter Sequels

Andrew Stanton was an accomplished creative force behind two of Pixar’s most successful and critically acclaimed animated features, having directed Finding Nemo and WALL•Ewhen Disney tapped him to take on their long-in-development John Carter. It proved to be a difficult property for audiences to wrap their heads around, to say the least.

Based on the 1917 novel A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs – the legendary sci-fi/fantasy author who also created Tarzan – John Carter had seen a series of directors come and go over the years, but fans of the book series remained hopeful that Stanton’s proven storytelling vision and knack for the more fantastical side of the film’s elements might prove successful.

While we liked the film, audiences in general stayed away in droves, making it a huge money pit for Disney and the world’s new reference for a potential box office bomb. Some blamed Stanton, some blamed the confusing marketing, but as we’ve seen with The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet, connecting modern audiences to certain lesser known, decades-old franchises can be problematic.

With Stanton returning to the Pixar well with Finding Dory, he may not have much of a reason to look back, and he’s gone on record to say that everyone tried their best to make John Carter a success. Still, he appears to be feeling nostalgic, as he recently shared the titles and logo mock-ups for two additional would-be sequels.

The first sequel would have been Gods of Mars:

And the follow-upWarlord of Mars:


In the past, Stanton seemed upbeat about the possibilities of John Carter sequels, and these potential titles share the names of Burroughs’ second and third books of his ‘Barsoom’ series. The tone of these tweets, however, suggest that fans hoping for more John Carter shouldn’t hold their breath. There’s certainly plenty of source material – beyond these first three books, there are seven other novels in the series, along with various interconnected novellas and short stories.

Disney clearly wanted John Carter to launch a franchise, given the film’s extensive (and sometimes off-putting) world-building and sequel bait of an ending. It’s been a couple of years now, and while the movie is an entertaining mashup of Western, sci-fi and fantasy tropes (along with par-for-the-genre convoluted plot), it hasn’t really generated the kind of devoted cult following which movies like this need to justify a sequel.

Taylor Kitsch John Carter Poster Andrew Stanton Reveals Titles of Would Be John Carter Sequels

The estimated production budget for John Carter was $250 million, not counting the cost of marketing and distribution. The movie ended its domestic theatrical run with just over $73 million and a worldwide take of just over $280 million. And that’s not including what it cost to develop the project over the years or the money that went back to theaters.

Disney lost money on this film, that’s beyond argument. Will glowing reviews and massive success for Finding Dory allow Stanton to jump back into live-action features, a la fellow Pixar alum Brad Bird? We’ll have to wait until 2016 to find out.


Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars may or may not ever make it onto the big-screen. Stay tuned for more details.

Source: Andrew Stanton

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  1. First problem they had was dropping the word Mars from the original title.

    No one cared about a movie called John Carter. If the title was John Carter From Mars would at least it would have peaked some curiosity.

    • Agreed. This isn’t like James Bond or Thor. Or even Flash Gordon. John Carter by itself is an unimpressive movie title. John Carter OF MARS, gets people curious.

      • Ah…the commercials showed him on Mars, so I doubt that anyone was confused by the absence of “Mars” in the title.

        I don’t know why so many people, at least posting here, believe that its failure was due to “marketing”. Please…it was a flawed movie.

        • The marketing made me not want to see the movie. The trailers were GOD AWFUL. I knew the movie was going to bomb the instant I saw the trailer.

      • “John Carter” by itself makes me think of Noah Wyle’s character on E.R.

        • Who, pray tell, sees a movie knowing only the title of it, and nothing else, beforehand?

          No one.

          Please people…use your common sense…the movie did not fail due to its “marketing”.

          • You assume everyone saw the trailer. The point is people just did not make a decision because the name of the film gave them no indication as to what it was about.

            The right name would have made people investigate as it would have indicated a genre.

            People do judge books by their cover, or whatever little information is before them. No surprises there. Big money in copywriting for that reason alone.

            The movie itself was terrific.

          • Jeff, you do realize that your first two sentences completely disprove your conclusion.

            Disney did not promote the movie, did nothing to give an audience any idea what the movie had to offer, put up one confusing, chaotic trailer, posters consisting of a black background with an orange rectangle and a very bland name.

            In short, Disney’s insane failure of marketing made it impossible for the movie to find an audience. Nobody knew what the movie was. Nobody knew anything but the title — because Disney failed to market it.

            And so nobody saw it.

          • I certainly would. “Cowboys and Aliens?” I you had me from the beginning. “Cube” intrigued. “John Carter?” nope not doing it. of course i read the books and was pumped to see it regardless. i don’t care much about how well it did. they didn’t stay true to the source and as such the sequels would have been worthless.

    • That’s exactly what film critic Mark Kermode said when he listed the film’s many and varied problems. No one would want to see a film called “John Carter” but add “Of Mars” and suddenly, you have an interesting title (subsequently, whenever he brings up the film in his Kermode Uncut videos, he always refers to it as “John Carter Of Mars”).

      Me personally, I saw the film on TV a year after its cinema release and was constantly checking the time because it just seemed to drag on and on and just when you think the end’s near, it continues for another 30 minutes (same thing that annoyed me about Avatar, other than the bland plot and one-dimensional characters).

      The visuals and Mark Strong’s brilliance were literally the only things that kept me watching. That ending was also completely terrible, they could (and should) have ended it without his mausoleum being opened to reveal him still inside looking young as ever before disappearing back to Mars. Just treat it as if the film’s events happened a long time ago and if it had actually been successful, a final film in the series could’ve revealed that he was in the mausoleum the whole time after the kid was told about his adventures.

      I just find audiences goofy though because they stay away from a crap film like John Carter based on trailers and plot synopsis but then they still flock to other crap films based on the same thing and avoid great films, despite them looking worthwhile in said trailers. If The Lone Ranger and John Carter could’ve flopped then Grown Ups 2 and Bad Neighbours should have flopped too but somehow, they didn’t.

      • Fantastic comment with good points, especially the last paragraph. This is an excellent post-hype thread in general

      • Crap film like John Carter ?
        To everybody his own ! Movie was really great !!
        Watched it 5 times in the Theater ! Sadly such good films are mostly not appreciated by the common folks with no imagination !

        • Oh, the arrogance.

          So if anyone did not like a film that you enjoyed, they must be “common folk with no imagination”?

          I guess they couldn’t have different opinions than you?

          • I know, right?

            As someone whose paychecks come from constantly using my imagination (music, artwork and “creative writing”, which encompasses short stories, writing tuition, etc), it’s highly laughable when someone uses that kind of insult to deride another person purely because their opinions differ. It just smacks of desperation.

            • LOL, you were JUST ranting about the “goofy” audiences flocking to see their “crap films.”

            • As opposed to smacking of hypocrisy?

        • Wait… you saw John Carter 5 times in the theater?

          • I really wanted to like this film, but it was dragged on. It commited the cardinal sin of being boring. I think a lot of people were pulling for the film because of the literary importanceof the character to the genre. But the film just did not come together. I had fears that the director’s lack of experience would prove its undoing, but the plodding script didnt help.

        • Great that you saw the film 5 times! Must be a fan of novels. The ending was one
          of best and original i have seen in recent memory.

        • Wouldn’t be so strong-worded on people who stayed away from JC. But heck, I really enjoyed it.

      • The ending as is was spot on perfect, while your version has all the makings of a migraine. What a terrific idea to end the trilogy with the same basic ending as the first only worse. IMHO.

        The ending was a great twist & Burroughs getting the best of the Thern was priceless, setting the stage for the next adventure beautifully!

        Oh well, all a matter of taste I

    • Guess “John Carter” was a “Non-Starter”?

    • And this was a decision imposed on Stanton by Disney.

      The movie was based on the novel A Princess of Mars, and Disney’s execs said, “You can’t call the movie that. No boy will ever go see a movie with Princess in the title.”

      So the producers called it John Carter of Mars, figuring, quite rightly, that everybody who read the books as kids called the whole series that.

      And Disney’s execs said, “You can’t call the movie that. No girl will ever go see a movie with Mars in the title.”

      And so the movie was released with a bland, generic male name as the title.

  2. The problem with John Carter may well have been the lack of explosions, profanity, and sex audiences have been trained to accept (and expect). Opinions will vary, of course, but I enjoy it and a great many people I know and respect have expressed their enjoyment of it. I often wonder if the folks who call something boring, tedious or plodding have simply lost the ability to focus.

    • It’s the building war of explosions & expletives over exposition & clever narrative.

  3. Once again someone cannot defend their enjoyment of this movie without resorting the tired old insults. If you didn’t like the movie it must be because you only like explosions and cannot focus. Many of the people I know enjoy Terrence Malick, David Lynch and many independent and Foreign films that require “concentration”. No one called you any names or insulted you with regards to your film preferences. This movie was in my opinion slow and tedious in parts. Your opionion is valid for you but please stop criticizing others for having a different opinion.

  4. Disney reveals names of John Carter Sequels… John Smith 2 and John Smith 3. Decides to drop all mention of plot or character development. News at 6

  5. You can’t blame the failure of John Carter on its world-building or its ending.

    John Carter tanked at the box office for one reason, and one reason only: Disney sabotaged it, whether deliberately or accidentally.

    The source of almost every cool trope of just about every successful SF movie since the 1970s with great characters, amazing effects, high adventure, cool creatures….

    And a poster that was an orange rectangle over the most generic possible male name!

    And almost zero advertising!

    Not a single toy spin-off!

    It took either a dark miracle of antitalent or a deliberate act of sabotage for Disney to kill this movie.

    It’s shameful.

    • Well it wasn’t Disney’s fault about the advertizing……directly. Stanton refused to give the advertizing department anything to really work with. They kept asking for more/better material but Stanton was very tight on what he was willing to show before the movie. They did what they could with the hand they were handed.

      Ultimately it was Disney’s own fault however because it was they who gave Stanton total and complete control of the project. They trusted him implicitly because of his past great successes with them which was a huge mistake. You should never relinquish control of a project period (See, Marvel signing away movie rights, for a lesson that should have been learned).

      Personally I was appalled at all the flagrant and needless liberties Stanton took with the source material. Things like white apes turned into nocturnal creatures with mole eyes, giving the Green Martian’s humanoid faces and stunting their height, making the White Martian’s planet jumping, resource sucking, leeches….ARG! So many pointless and stupid changes.

      Now I’m not going to claim a more faithful adaption would have helped sell tickets but it couldn’t have hurt (at least from my perspective and I would have been more favorable to it and told friends to go see it)

  6. Personally i thought this film was fantastic as far as originality, unfortunately it may have been
    Released 10 years too late. Make no mistake edgar’s novels have been copied over and over in
    big budget movies. The thing is i highly doubt that many of you have ever or will ever pickup
    and read one of his books seeing how some have trashed this movie. mr borrough’s incredible
    imagination was decades in advance before big budget sci films.

  7. When people see the Disney logo on a movie poster, they don’t think “adult sci-fi”. That may have been part of the problem.

    Isn’t that why Disney bought Miramax, back in the day? So that they could produce movies for adults that didn’t have the Disney logo?

  8. Personally I wish Disney would give this movie a second chance with sequel. Maybe a lower budget and definitely better marketing.

  9. I liked John Carter but I know why a lot of people didn’t. It was kinda campy and I just don’t think the western scifi does it for a lot of people. I also believe the “John Carter” title hurt it. If they would have stuck with princess of mars it would have seemed more in line with other Disney products…aka a princess of mars…seems obvious to me. Also $250 million? Thats absurd! How many movies can get away with spending that much and expect to make a profit? Maybe one or two a year.

  10. Disney sucks.

    That is all.

    Good day!

  11. that sucks becuase i actually enjoyed John Carter, i know it bombed in the box office but it was a very entertaining film…Taylor Kisch was talking about how hes been shying away from blockbusters as of late but John Carter and Batlleship i thought were great, i bought them on blu ray and always hoped there would be sequels but these critics are so one minded they destroy movies like this before there even released…these types of movies are what people go to the theatres for, big, epic action spectacles that are very entertaining but people take it more serious than it is, same way with the lone ranger, i liked it too, not as much as JC and Battleship but it got destroyed too and it had JD in it

    • Battleship was terrible. I literally groaned aloud when the aliens shot explosives at the ships that looked like giant pegs, then showed them sticking into the ships. /facepalm Awful.

      • My wife and I watched Battleship with the expectation of something really terrible, but we were pleasantly surprised. The alien technology was clearly affected by the Transformers movies, and the way they ignored anything they didn’t consider to be a threat was an interesting development, but we enjoyed it for the fare it was intended to be. Some things require you to step back and turn off your tendency to analyze things and just grab another handful of popcorn.

        • you didnt expect battleship to be taken seriously, so you go in with low expectations and you get soem good visual effects, cool action sequences and a plot thats different than most alien movies…whoever took battleship serious was there first mistake, it could of been shorter, it could of been more serious and it could of had a better cast but it was enjoyable and thats all that matters, same with John Carter, the big budget, the casting and the half a** advertising is why it wasnt successful

        • and not alot of people are aware but John Carter is tied for 4th on the highest film budgets list behind POTC at worlds end, tangled, and spider man 3…so first off who makes that much of a epensive film with no star power anyways. they should of made it an animated film and used better actor vocies and it coiuld of prolly made a killing

          • The question is, who makes a movie that expensive and then just sits out promoting it?

  12. I’m with most people here. Loved that movie. Took a while to accept scrawny Taylor Kitsch as JC but grew to like him. Pity its boxoffice take has given it a bad cachet. Hoping against hope Disney does a sequel. Probably have better chance of finding a wormhole to Mars though.

    • well i agree i like TK…but that may be where JC went wrong, not saying the only reason but that was his 1st big movie since being done with Friday Night Lights, he had smaller roles in the bang bang club, xmen origins wolverine, the covenant and snakes on a plane, so disney wants to start this big budget sci fi franchise and have no star power at the time, i mean Lily Collins did great and shes sexy but no one knew who she was then…even the villiane in dominic west, granted hes a good actor but hes not very popular…the best actor in that movie was brian cranston and he was under utilized

  13. Tron was a bomb when it was first released, but with Tron Legacy it’s a box-office hit. Perhaps Stanton can rewrite the story to appeal it more to the present audience.

  14. I hope that whoever was in charge of marketing for John Carter was fired.

  15. John Carter movies never stood a chance. Marketing aside, it was just not that well written. It looked great and I really wanted to enjoy it but it was just missing something for me. I don’t think it deserved a sequel, despite it’s desperate attempts to set one up in-film.

  16. I just find it baffling that even after the horrendous decision to name it “John Carter” (while not being a fan of the series I knew was a bad idea), Hollywood execs and producers have followed its lead with Jack Ryan, Alex Cross, and Jack Reacher. The world would be in uproar if franchise films were to release with the titles James Bond or Jason Bourne. Just a notoriously bad idea by Disney that helped sink this ship followed by spending $250 mil and banking on Taylor Kitsch as the lead.

  17. The problem with the film is twofold: one- its from two different perspectives-the narrator and John Carter himself telling the story which for it to be believed would’ve been better if it was seen from the third person-the viewer….I think also that for a character that though has a popular writer is still a character unfamiliar to the current generation..The character of John Carter is a tough sell based on the stories themselves..I believe had they kept the character one foot in the Victorian period and one foot on Mars-it would’ve been a more entertaining story and film with alot more suspense. Having his body kept in a vault,etc was ridiculous..Also it was inferred that there were those that wanted his secrets-that in itself would’ve been a great story to run concurrent to his time on Mars.Practically a whole nother story that was left out of the film..

  18. john carter is a very nice movie….i just love the concept…
    i hope the sequel is relaesed at time

  19. I am a huge fan of ERB. Many years ago, I read the vast majority of his works. I believe the John Carter movie was horribly market by Disney. It was not marketed as science fiction/fantasy but just John Carter.
    Imagine the difference it waould have been if marketed as “From the mind of one of the greatest fiction writers of all time, ERB, creator of Tarzan. A tale of Mars, John Carter of Mars.”