‘John Carter’ director breaks down plans for abandoned sequels
Two-time Academy Award winner Andrew Stanton embarked on a massive undertaking when he opted to make his live-action directorial debut on Disney’s John Carter.
An ambitious, expansive adaptation of an all-time genre classic, the Mouse House handed him a budget of $263 million and sent him on his way. The movie may have found a long-lasting life as a cult favorite, but that doesn’t change the fact it still ranks as one of the biggest box office bombs in history.
The studio are estimated to have lost up to $200 million on the project, so nobody was surprised when the planned sequels were mothballed. In fact, Disney doesn’t even own the rights to the property anymore, after they reverted back to the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate in late 2014.
Once upon a time, though, there was genuine hope that a new blockbuster franchise was about to be born, only for it to implode spectacularly at the first hurdle. In a recent interview with The Wrap, Stanton revealed what he had in mind for the two planned follow ups.
“I love the idea of you were going to open with the prologue. It was going to be that every movie had a different character saying the prologue. The first one is Willem, as Tars. The second one’s prologue narration was going to be Dejah. And it was going to give anybody that hadn’t seen the first movie a little precursor of the history that got you to this movie.
Shorthand, interesting imagery, whether it was artwork or whatever. And then you were going to reveal she was telling it to her baby. And you were going to realize, “Oh my God, it’s the child. It’s Carthoris, this child of Dejah Thoris and Carter”. And that story she’s telling, she’s telling the story of the father that this child will never know.
And then her dad, Ciarán Hinds’ character, Tardos Mors, said she’s been up too long, she’s tired, let her grandfather have a moment with the child and I’ll put her to bed. Then it was going to be revealed to be Matai Shang in shapeshifting mode. And he was going to steal the baby. And then it was going to go onto the opening credits. The next image after the opening credits was going to be Carter lying in his funeral suit in the middle of the desert, just looking like a dead body in a wake and just waking up.”
Stanton confirmed a long time ago that he planned to round out his trilogy with Gods of Mars and Warlords of Mars, but after watching his passion project tank in historical fashion, hopefully he’s managed to find some solace in the fact John Carter has only grown in popularity over the last decade.