The internet has been a godsend for film nerds. It could be the an explosion of reviews, editorials, fan theories, or other written elements exploring film; or there’s the plethora of lost films and film scenes that have been restored online to their former glory or a crowdfunding campaign to film a lost segment of a beloved movie; or even a look into an alternate reality where a film was made but with different participants. That last one is the basis for this write-up as interested parties get a chance to see an different take on John Carter than what wound up onscreen.
To be fair, there are a lot of similarities between what (a small number of) audiences saw in Andrew Stanton’s version of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ tale and this presentation reel that was created years before that film debuted. Mostly that’s due to a dedication to preserving the richly described world that Burroughs created in his books, but it’s still interesting to see what a different filmmaker would have brought to the table. Before Stanton’s 2012 film, the title was under development by director Kerry Conran (Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow) and producer Harry Knowles (yes, he of Ain’t It Cool News). Knowles has uploaded a high resolution version of the original presentation reel that Conran had formed that consists of concept art, some CGI elements, and a few key scenes filmed with temporary actors. It’s curious what would have been different if this film had been developed with those principles at Paramount Pictures—and not at Disney who infamously dropped the “Of Mars” part because they believed Mars tested poorly with audiences. But take a look below to see another world that could’ve been, with possible more entries in the John Carter franchise, had things gone a little differently.