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.
- 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.
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.