Disney's John Carter No Longer of Mars
05.26.11 by BJSprecher
In a surprising move, Disney has changed the name of its upcoming 3-D sci-fi epic John Carter of Mars to simply John Carter without any explanation for the change. Written (with Michael Chabon) and directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E), John Carter is based on the classic sci-fi character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs who appeared in the author's 11-volume Barsoom (Martian) series of books. The story centers around a Civil War veteran (Taylor Kitsch) who finds himself granted super-human strength and agility after being mysteriously transported to Mars, which is itself in the midst of a devastating civil war between the Red and Green Martians.
John Carter is a well-known character in sci-fi circles so the loss of "Mars" to the title might not affect recognition from that segment of the moviegoing audience, but it makes the movie far less identifiable as a sci-fi movie to the uninitiated. The only possible explanation for the move is that Disney hopes to distance John Carter from its most recent feature to include "Mars" in the title, Mars Needs Moms, which proved a tremendous bomb at the box office.
John Carter is planned as the first installment of a trilogy of movies and is based on the first Burroughs novel to feature the character, A Princess of Mars, which was first published in 1912. While principal photography in Utah has wrapped, Stanton recently revealed that he is "only halfway through the movie" and not in post-production, in the midst of digital principal photography, which he said will continue "for the rest of 2011."
The John Carter cast includes Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris, Mark Strong as Matai Shang, James Purefoy as Kantos Kan, Samantha Morton as Sola, Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas, Dominic West as Sab Than, Thomas Haden Church as Tal Hajus and Polly Walker as Sarkoja. Ciarán Hinds and Bryan Cranston also star in as-yet-unspecified roles.