Walt Disney Pictures has slowly begun to build anticipation for John Carter, an adaptation of Edgar Rich Burrough’s classic literary sci-fi series. Today marks the next big step in the film’s marketing campaign, as an official teaser trailer has been released online.

Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Nemo) is making his live-action directorial debut with John Carter, which seeks to both recreate the period aesthetic of Burrough’s original creation and offer moviegoers a visually unique other-worldly adventure. Based on the early footage from the film, it appears prepped to do just that.

John Carter is also being fashioned as the first installment in a new franchise, which partly accounts for why its title was shortened from John Carter of Mars. If all goes according to plan, Disney will release two more cinematic ventures that chronicle the experiences of the title character.

For those not in the know, here is an official synopsis for John Carter:

The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of [the Martian civilization] Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.

Now check out the official John Carter teaser trailer below:

Obviously, John Carter is a very expensive undertaking that requires elaborate effects work, set design, and production values to realize its imaginative extraterrestrial setting – so there’s a lot of cool imagery that has yet to be unveiled. However, what material is on display in the John Carter teaser is overall quite gorgeous and boasts some impressive large-scale visuals of the Martian landscape, courtesy of director of photography Daniel Mindel (Star Trek). Plus, the mix of CGI elements with real-world landscapes and practical costumes/props in this footage gives the scenery more of a naturalistic and convincing feel.

There’s also something clever about how Stanton and his co-writer (Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon) appear to have framed the John Carter storyline with a subplot that follows a young Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara) as he uncovers the truth about his mysterious uncle. It strengthens the idea behind the retention of the author’s original Victorian perspective of Mars and its inhabitants, while also suggesting that the Burroughs narrative thread will parallel that of Carter’s, as the latter also discovers a world he could never dream of.

Lastly – the more atmospheric and almost lyrical pacing of this teaser trailer is rather refreshing. In an age where most theatrical previews for big-budget blockbusters aim to be as hyper-kinetic and frantic as possible (see: the Sherlock Holmes 2 trailer), this is a welcome change of pace.

John Carter of Mars arrives in U.S. theaters on March 9th, 2012.

Source: Walt Disney Pictures