Andrew Stanton, the director and writer for Disney’s live-action adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars, recently revealed his plans for a sequel to the film, which he titled ‘God of Mars.’
Stanton’s revelation came in a lengthy article published by TheWrap dissecting John Carter’s long road to the big screen and its subsequent failure at the box office and poor critic reviews.
The film, which was released in 2012, starred Taylor Kitch as John Carter, Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris, Mark Strong as Matai Shang, Thomas Haden Church as Tal Hajus, Samantha Morton as Sola, and Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas.
According to The-Numbers, it earned a measly $73 million at the domestic box office and $209.7 million at the international box office for a worldwide total of $282.7 million. It had an estimated production budget of $263.7 million.
The film has a 52% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 60% Audience Score.
Stanton first detailed that the second film’s opening prologue would be narrated by Lynn Collins’ Dejah Thoris character, and like Willem Dafoe’s Tars Tarkin’s narration in the first film it would provide a brief explanation on the history of the world in case you hadn’t seen the first film.
The prologue in the first film sees Dafoe state, “Mars. So you name it, and think that you know it. The Red Planet. No air, no life. But you do not know Mars, for its true name is Barsoom. And it is not airless, nor is it dead, but it is dying.”
It continues, “The city of Zodanga saw to that. Zodanga, the predator city, moving, devouring, draining Barsoom of energy and life. Only the great city of Helium dared resist, stood strong, matched Zodanga airship for airship, holding fast for a thousand years.”
“Until one day the rule of Zodanga became cornered in a sandstorm and everything changed,” it concludes.
Stanton explained his decision, “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.”
He then went on to provide specifics about the prologue from Dejah Thoris telling TheWrap, “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.”
Stanton continued to reveal what he had planned for the opening of this sequel, “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,” he detailed.
Next, Stanton relayed, “Then he’s just going to take off his jacket like it was nothing and just start walking. And then eventually, just like out of ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ way out in the horizon, is going to come a Thark on a thoat. And he’s going to surprise Carter by saying he knows exactly who he is and there’s been somebody looking for you.”
“He brings him to a camp and it’s Kantos Kan which is James Purefoy, who’d been searching forever off of any river where this guy went. And so shocked that he’s found him. And then he says, ‘You have to get back now to heal him.’ And he gets back and you think it’s going to be a reunion, only to find out that there’s been some time between the prologue and the main credits,” Stanton reveals.
Stanton continued to divulge his ideas for the sequel, “Now Dejah’s gone missing. She’s convinced that the Therns took their child and if Carter ever comes back, she went down the River Iss to try and find him.”
“And then, like ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes,’ it all takes place, everybody going into the earth to find out who’s really been controlling the whole planet. There’s a whole race down there that has been with high tech,” he continued.
Stanton explained, “Basically, it’s been a third world without anybody knowing it on the top of the surface and the first world’s been inside the whole time operating the air, the water, the everything to keep the world functioning.”
“And yeah, I can keep going. But I’ve never told anybody the beginning of that. You can hold that dear,” he concluded.
No other details were published about TheWrap.
What do you make of Stanton’s idea for a sequel to John Carter? Would you be interested in seeing another attempt at adapting Edgar Rice Burroughs’ work? Would you want to see a sequel?