JOHN CARTER Sequel Logos: Director Andrew Stanton Teases What Could Have Been

     June 7, 2014


Studios launch potential franchise-starters every year in the hopes of spawning numerous sequels, spinoffs, and of course, plenty of merchandise.  More often than not, these things fail to take off, but the ones that don’t and are actually good tend to sting.  An adaptation of author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ fantasy series John Carter of Mars had been in development for a very, very long time before Wall-E director Andrew Stanton finally brought the film to fruition, and while Stanton crafted a grand adventure movie that wholly transported audiences to its vast world, the box office numbers just weren’t strong enough to warrant follow-ups.

In the event that John Carter did take off, Stanton had big plans for the series, and the filmmaker recently took to Twitter to share the title treatments for the sequels Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars.  More after the jump.

john-carter-2-sequel-andrew-stanton-taylor-kitschThough John Carter was an easy target for detractors given its production troubles and massive budget, I count myself as one of the film’s fans.  Stanton did an excellent job of enveloping audiences in the John Carter universe with a genuine sense of wonder, and the pic showed great promise for what could have transpired in the sequels.  Stanton planned on rounding out the adaptation as a trilogy with his co-writers Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon, and they had even begun initial work on the script for the direct follow-up Gods of Mars when the disappointing box office made it clear the sequel wasn’t going to happen.

While John Carter pulled in $284 million worldwide, that made for a major loss for Disney given that the budget had ballooned to $250 million before taking into account the extensive (and misguided) marketing campaign.  Whatever the film’s faults and whatever disappointments may still exist about not seeing the trilogy come to fruition, I take comfort in the fact that Stanton’s John Carter still stands as a fun and unique sci-fi adventure, and it holds up pretty well on repeat viewings.

Spurred by a retrospective piece on John Carter over at, Stanton recently took to Twitter and shared his title treatments for the follow-ups.  It’s not much, and it definitely doesn’t come close to satiating the appetite for the Stanton-helmed sequels, but fans of the film will surely find them of interest.  For his part, Stanton is currently back at Pixar directing the Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory, but he plans on tackling another live-action film after completion.




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  • James

    No point crying about it now. He shouldn’t have cast it so blandly, and made such an unremarkable first picture. The creatures all looked fake, even though the LOTR CGI is now 15 years old. If you plan an going to an alien world, it had better have an Avatar level of photorealistic. And 2 new logos isn’t exactly a news worthy endeavour guys. And I love Wall-E btw.

    • agent777

      If John Carter came of as bland, it’s because everything from Star Wars to Dune borrows heavily from those books. Sci Fi wouldn’t exist as it does without Edgar Rice Burrough’s Mars books, and the tepid response to the film also highlights how ignorant the average person is to the rich American literature that has made film possible.

      This alien world is Mars, this alien worlds has existed in books for over a century, it’s a dying world so yeah, it’s going to look dead. It’s not a vomitous neon colored abomination like Avatar.

      • James

        Well if the strength of those novels is how well written they are, then it should have been adapted accordingly, but they weren’t. Bland actors, bland performances. The film was only made by Disney to try to cash in on the Neon-vom of Avatar’s cash cow. It came off as bland as it tried to make realistic a world straight out of flash Gordon, but instead of having fun with it, it was this serious yet unmemorable yarn. The world in Wall-E is a near-death Earth, and it was fascinating. You can’t defend something that so clearly dropped the ball. Most films now are basic restructured copies of other films. You either do it well and new or you fail. This failed. I love how when badly done films like this or cloud atlas deservedly fail, it’s because everyone else is ignorant bar the choice few who really saw it’s worth. Like we can’t see contrarian pretention when we see it? F*ck off.

      • Douchebag

        “Like we can’t see contrarian pretension when we see it? F*ck off.” – That made me laugh. Applause, applause.

      • BigJimSlade

        Fortunately for us, Star Wars and Dune had better direction, casting
        and made some efforts so their movies didn’t look like they took place entirely in Utah.

        I do hope a better writer/director gives the Burrough’s stories another shot one of these years, and preferably not a sterile and uninspired Disney production. With a different take/tone, the story could have very engaging. Lots of possibilities.

        You could sense John Carter of Utah’s incompetence from the end of the clumsy “these are the Bad Guys” opening scene. Seeing them waste Bryan Cranston was another early warning. Other than the weak plot, the overacting of the lovely female lead really killed it for me. Seemed like she was trying way too hard to win a part in her high school’s latest Shakespeare production. Also easy to forget is how forgettable the CGI characters/waring factions were. I’m not the biggest Navi fan, but Cameron did a much better job of creating a unique race of alien life, and the lead in John Carter made Sam Worthington seem like the next Tom Cruise.

        I will give it credit for the amount of energy put into the production. No doubt a lot of creative production, visual and audio designers spent days/weeks/months visualizing a large budget movie.

      • agent777

        I love Dune and David Lynch, but it is a historic flop as a film, in fact it was regarded about as highly as John Carter was. The film was a bombastic mess and went far over budget. It’s wonderful, but is definitely a film people still snicker about.

        I was also able to watch John Carter in one sitting, Avatar is so bad I still have gotten very far into it, and it just seems to have pillaged it’s ideas from other sources so I don;t agree that Cameron created anything original. John Carter is also a adaptation, so Stanton wasn’t a original alien race, but adapting one.

        It seems like the main demographic that was pleased were fans of the John Carter books, and that counts for something.

      • agent777

        I love Dune and David Lynch, but it is a historic flop as a film, in fact it was regarded about as highly as John Carter was. The film was a bombastic mess and went far over budget. It’s wonderful, but is definitely a film people still snicker about.

        I was also able to watch John Carter in one sitting, Avatar is so bad I still have gotten very far into it, and it just seems to have pillaged it’s ideas from other sources so I don;t agree that Cameron created anything original. John Carter is also a adaptation, so Stanton wasn’t a original alien race, but adapting one.

        It seems like the main demographic that was pleased were fans of the John Carter books, and that counts for something.

      • james

        So the fans of the books stayed fans despite the crappy movie? What an achievement!

      • MJ

        Well I have to read your crappy-ass posts over and over on this site, and I am certainly not a fan of them. What an achievement of patience and fortitude by me!

      • james

        Go away you troll.

      • MJ

        What, no F-Bomb for me like you are using with others to try to push your weight around here?

        Wall-E is a great sf universe? LOL Fat people on spaceships with a blatant rip-off of the Short Circuit robot as lead character…it’s the most overrated animated movie of the 2000′s.

      • MJ

        The premiere of Dune was probably the biggest opening night sf movie movie disappointment of my entire life.

        Horrid movie…wasn’t the Dune that I had read and loved.

      • Droobiedoo

        Those books are not particularly well written, and were primarily a cash grab by burroughs. They’re fun, pulpy fun for small boys. Not much else.

        The movie, however, is a complete mess.

    • Shapyroman

      Avatar photorealistic ? Are you serious ?
      The only film who managed to produce creatures who don’t look fake is “Rise of the planet of the apes”.

      • James

        You mean Weta Digital, the company that did both effects? They both still can be detected as cgi by any viewer, but it’s the level at which they are almost convincing that should be the current benchmark.

      • James

        You mean Weta Digital, the company that did both effects? They both still can be detected as cgi by any viewer, but it’s the level at which they are almost convincing that should be the current benchmark.

      • Shapyroman

        Of course they can be detected by any viewer: I don’t remember one man raising from his seat and yelling “OMG a talking chimp !!! Where did they get him ??”.
        And yes Weta Digital did both effects, but if you think that a vfx company can either go flawless or shit making, let me bring you a nice comparision.
        If you saw The Lone Ranger (a.k.a. the “John Carter flop” of last year”), I defy you for real to notice any of the jawdropping matte paintings and explosions that were made for this movie.
        If Gravity wasn’t released this year, every expert could tell you that Lone Ranger would be by far the winner of the VFX Academy Award.
        The effects were done by ILM.
        You know what else has been done by ILM ?
        Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
        The film with an explosion sequence at the Kremlin so hilarious and badly crafted, that any student in VFX could top it in a matter of few hours.

      • james

        John Carter aliens looked crap. Deal with it.

  • bhj

    And cue the haters.

  • ScratStitch

    Gods of Mars? Disney almost certainly would’ve dropped the “Mars” and just called it “Gods,” because marketing is stupid.

    Then again, the press did everything in their power to kill this movie before it even came out. And they did the very same thing with The Lone Ranger a year later.

    • agent777

      Disney entered live action film with amazing and respectful adaptations of Treasure Island and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea… confronted with a film like now they panic and act like idiots. Princess of Mars would of been the perfect title, and it’s not only disrespectful to change it, but sexist as thje reasoning was no one would see a film about a Princess on Mars. Would they reboot Treasure Island as a film title “Long John”?

      • Ruprect

        No, just “John”.


      I think Stanton had killed it all ready by going over budget with expensive reshoots that never fixed the film’s problems.

  • Patrick Campbell

    One of my favorite films of that year, and of the last decade altogether. It was a great pulp adventure tale, that did a helluva job bringing the world of Barsoom to life. The movie has grown better on repeat viewings as well. I so badly wanted to see this series go forward, and you can tell it hurts Stanton that it didn’t. Sad, really, it would have been great.

  • Tyler

    It wasn’t my cuppa tea, but nice to know that Stanton hasn’t given up on the film, because it has quite a heap of fans.

    • Mark Sacchetti

      I enjoyed the movie. It had its issues. I would of liked to have seen what AS had in store for us as the trilogy unfolded.

  • MJ

    Very underrated movie. Better than Thor 2 and ASM2 by a long shot. Bring on the sequel.

    • World’s Finest Comments

      Are you going to pay for it?

      • Kevin Carter

        I’ll chip in..

      • Old Soldier

        Me too!

      • agent777

        I’ll pay to see it, where as I wouldn’t see a Marvel movie for free.

      • MJ

        Yea, I would.

    • Scott550

      not underrated. It’s so bad it’s amazing it was ever rated at all.

      • MJ

        Which of course explains how my comment here has 30 votes and counting, while your response has only 4 votes of support. LOL. Nice try!

      • Guest

        Its up to 5 now. Would you like to change your post to not look stupid, again? Fucking dumbass.

      • MJ

        No, it’s still at 4, because you have now voted at least 4 times under different identities.

        Try to be a little less obvious about it next time…I see right now, in the last few minutes that you are continuing to try to vote more…the system just refused to count one of your repeat votes, as I just saw it go to 8, then down to 7 again in real time.

        What a loser. Can’t win in life, and so you try to bully me and other’s here and cast your fake little hater votes. You are pathetic.

  • Aaron Sullivan

    I liked this movie, but it was surprising to me that it came from the director of Finding Nemo and the heart was ripped out of the original story. The core relationships during his “alien upbringing” were shortened to such a brief time I would have even preferred a montage to how it was rushed in the movie.

    He seemed so anxious to tell the broader story and he has some good reason for it, but taking that out made the relationships more shallow than they should have been making everything else weaker.

    It was WAY better than the box office shows, however. Stanton is partially responsible for how the marketing went, and big mistakes were made.

    I actually worry about Edge of Tomorrow being overlooked in a similar way. It’s a hard one to market and yet it has been my favorite movie this year, I think. Better than John Carter for sure.

  • 80sRobot

    Hopefully Stanton will direct one of the Star Wars movies, perhaps Episode 8.

    • Scott550

      Ha Ha. Good one. I doubt anyone will ever let him near a live action set again.

  • Ruprect

    Hey, Mr Stanton … Maybe if you had fought a little harder for the name to be John Carter of Mars you might have had a chance to make the other two.

    • Adrian

      I believe it was Disney that changed it from John Carter of Mars to just John Carter due to Mars Needs Moms doing mediocre.

      • Ruprect

        I know who changed it and why. As I said, the director should have fought harder to keep the name.

    • Scott550

      no one cares. the film flopped.

      • Ruprect

        Wow. What savvy and well thought out analysis. Good thing you cared enough to share it with us.

  • Royale With Cheese

    Why did this movie tank? I never watched the film because the reviews were terrible but is this another behind the scenes fiasco? It was Disney funded and had attractive leads so I don’t see how they could mess it up.

    • Aquartertoseven

      Because the budget ballooned as it was kept in production, delayed, for years. Its budget grew to $250m, when really, if it was delayed so much, it would’ve probably been $100m or less. Plus the marketing was awful, the fan made trailer was better than what Disney put out there.

  • Stefan Bonomo

    While I really liked this film and would’ve loved a sequel, I do understand why it bombed. Firstly, this film shouldn’t have cost $250 million. It looks good, but not that good. And a lot of it was in the desert. Also the marketing was complete rubbish, just assuming people knew who John Carter was and just making it look bland. I can guarantee, if Disney put in the credits “From the director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E” more people would’ve seen it. Also, the film doesn’t have any big stars. Yes Taylor Kitsch is box office poison, but if they had covered the cast with more than just the voice of Willem Dafoe, evil Mark Strong again, and Bryan Cranston cameo, it would’ve helped a lot.

  • Firefly13

    I’m always hesitant to include my opinion on here because the folks that write in the comments section here on Collider all seem to be know-it-all’s that can’t deal with a different thought.

    I loved the movie John Carter. So much so that I had to have it on Blu-ray in 3D. I think that it’s a magnificent and fun film. I, personally, enjoyed the film tons more than a lot of stuff that came out in 2012.

    (This is not meant to rile any of you commenter’s up, it’s just an opinion) For example, the story of Marvel’s The Avenger’s, to me, was rather poor. Considering that it was from Joss Whedon, I found the film to be disappointing. I mean, there are folks complaining that the new Amazing Spider-Man movie has too many villains (no, it doesn’t. watch the film and you’ll see there’s really only ONE villain being focused on and the other two are barely given any screen-time) while I feel that the Avenger’s movie had too many heroes and no real villain at all. C’mon, folks, Loki just sat there and let the heroes fight amongst themselves. And why did they all have to fight amongst themselves? I don’t know.
    I guess I expected better from a movie that was written/directed by Joss Whedon. I mean, Serenity was far superior in so many ways to The Avenger’s.

    But that’s how I felt about it. Not many others seem to agree as The Avenger’s made bank at the box office! hehe And I’m happy that it made bank. I just hope the sequel is an improvement.

    Back to John Carter. I do not see how the movie cost $250million, either, but it was still a good movie.
    For those that didn’t like John Cartrer, meh. So what? It’s not the only film you’ve ever watched that you didn’t like. And it certainly won’t be the last.
    Move on. Live your life and focus on the stuff that you do like and love in life. You may be happier for it.

    • agent777

      I agree. I think John Carter as a pop culture figure has become very obscure. But if they had called it “Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Mars and made it clear that this is from the pen of the same man who wrote Tarzan I think a lot more interest would of been generated. Given Burroughs is a character in the film, it’s pretty odd they would hide that fact.

      Avengers benefited from the spectacle of all these heroes from different films being united, and that was about it. John Carter had the benefit of being a adaptation of century old American classic that had be considered unadaptable, in the same way LOTR was, but New Line and Peter Jackson also made sure we all knew the importance of the undertaking, Disney obscured it.

      • Grayden

        “…an adaptation of century old American classic that had be considered unadaptable, in the same way LOTR was, but New Line and Peter Jackson also made sure we all knew the importance of the undertaking, Disney obscured it.”

        This. A thousand times this. I think this is the singular effort a studio needs to consider when adapting older literature, and yet still very poignant, into the modern visual medium. Sure, people pass on science fiction as a “nerd” thing, because they don’t understand what it actually is. They don’t understand that science fiction literature has led to many of the tachnological advances they enjoy today. It’s an essential part of our modern way of life today. If Disney had even a clue about what they were adapting, and why, they should have embraced that literary history and it’s influence on yound minds and what eventually became of that influence on our global society.

  • CaJd554

    Oh dear lord, the first one was awful enough. A mess of a story and film, directed by a cartoon novice with no real experience directing a film. john carter was a terrible film. Audiences hated it, and Disney lost their shirts on it.

    • MJ

      Go back to you crappy internet self promotion as a supposed “animator” in Hollywood…I’m not buying it. I think you are a wannabe who is probably just “getting coffee” for the real deal animators. Your posts are primarily geared toward taking down others in your field…surely not the mark of a successful professional of consequence in the trade.

      • MJDick

        Your posts are primarily geared toward taking down others.

      • MJ

        CaJd554, couldn’t you at least have had the guts to respond to me directly, without making up this silly “MJDick” sock-puppet?

        You just confirmed my statements above.

    • Droobiedoo

      Agreed. No amount of bad marketing would generate such widespread hatred for a film. It’s truly no wonder it flopped.

      • Playhouse

        Except for the fact that most of the people that spewed hate about it when it was in theaters and continue to talk bad about the film have never actually seen it. It would be nice to dismiss fans of the film as delusional, except that this is a rare case where there was prejudice and media slant that continues to keep people away from the film. You can find some variation online of the “finally watched ‘John Carter’ and it’s pretty good [or not as bad as everyone was saying it was]” comment daily. If you’ve seen the film and didn’t care for it, that’s one thing. I tend to find this is often more a case of having bought into the negative hype and never actually taking the initiative to find out for one’s self.

  • RCooke

    His reputation for having a massive, over-inflated ego continues as stanton promotes himself in a lonely dream to continue making more bad john carter movies. Kiss it goodbye.

    • agent777

      He directed Finding Nemo and Wall-e, so yeah…

    • MJ

      Yea, because no one who has ever directed movies has ever had an over-inflated ego before….

      Huh? Are you kidding us? Really?

      Just when I think I have read some pretty dumb-ass comments before, this RCooke makes me reflect that their is always a lower level of stupidity within reach.

      • Snake

        It’s you bro.

  • SV7

    I don’t dislike the movie because it went over budget or had some bad press. I dislike it because it’s overblown and underwhelming. Sadly, it’s a well-intentioned and ambitious misfire with a rather weak leading man.

    • CJ

      It never went over budget. It was greenlit at $250 million, which was not a smart thing to do.

      • SV7

        Agreed. They treated the Mars series like an IP familiar to the public whereas it really wasn’t. It’s not AVENGERS or STAR WARS. But I still think the movie was pretty lacklustre in the end, sadly.

  • CJ

    I read a book about the whole fiasco called JOHN CARTER AND THE GODS OF HOLLYWOOD and by all accounts the actual production went quite smoothly.

    It was all the executives politics behind the scenes and incompetent marketing that contributed to its failure. That and the simple fact that the movie was incoherent and boring.

    • Stefan Bonomo

      Really? I gotta check this book out. Sounds really good.

      • CJ

        The book is okay, but quite repetitive and concentrates almost solely on the pre and post-production.

        If you want gossip and tidbits from the set there’s none of that.

    • Underground Anthem TX

      ColinJ– Does the book go into why the production required extensive reshoots? I read that reshoots are what ballooned the film’s budget from $200 to $250. Thanks!

      • CJ

        Nope. There is very little on the actual shooting, since the author wasn’t there. But I don’t recall any reshoots being mentioned.

        The problem was always Stanton’s script and the fact that the story had no new ideas in it, since it had been relentlessly ripped off in the decades since..

    • Scott550

      That book is silly. It’s written by an internet fanboy who’s lost his marbles and thinks the film brought world peace. The problem was the director, plain and simple.

      Not to mention, the book is written by a high school term paper. That got an “F.”

  • DeathoftheEndless7

    Avatar is way better.

  • The Destroyer

    Part of the reason the film flopped, not only was it the terrible marketing and the incompitent trailer editor, but because the media blew the entire situation out of proportion and decided that it was going to be a flop months before the movie even came out. This then scared viewers from seeing it, and the ones that were interested in it (like me) decided to wait for it to come out on redbox. But then once I did watch it, I was mesmerized, loved it, and went back and re-read the first book, and read the rest of the books.

    • Playhouse

      Disney also prematurely taking a $200M write-off on the film also became huge media fodder when they should’ve still been working at promoting the film.


    John Carter aliens reminded me a LOT to Delgo , not good

  • LEM

    The studio would change those so they don’t confuse the public. John Carter of Mars? whaaaaaaa I can’t wrap my head around seeing a fictional character with that name on mars.

  • Jonboy

    It is so sad that this movie didn’t make it. But it’s no mistake, I’m a fan of the book and only the parts that were of the book were the parts I loved. The characters in the books were more unique than any of the cliches you see now in movies and the relationships were built over years and full of amazing smart sci-fi. I didn’t think the Pixar way of story telling would’ve been a good fit but I still had hope for the movie. But just imagine if this was given the LOTR model where they thought of the books as 3 projects and shot 3 movies in one go and adjusted them with reshoots if the first one didn’t do well etc etc. And if John Carter was on mars for a longer time…he learns the language he becomes their leader in a more epic way and the small relationships that are established would’ve been more real. The end of the book is just so much better than the movie. And is more focused without the extra bits that were in the books after. And the casting was really not the best. Mark Strong would’ve played any other character better. And although I didn’t hate John Carter I didn’t put my place in his shoes as much as I did in the book. The princess was a great choice because she’s captivating and still warrior like. And Willem Defoe is a great choice but if you want your actors to do a good job why would you put them on stilts! Motion capture my ass it was so unnecessary! The parallels of the book were like a western in space with Indians and clan disputes and deserts. It’s such good material and you have to wonder would Guillermo del Torro have done a better job? Would Spieldberg have done a better job? Heck! Peter Jackson is still making three hobbit movies that are nothing like the book and still making it work! It’s all about those decisions you make before you start the script and shooting that makes the movie a success in my opinion. That’s where it all starts and that’s where this movie failed.

  • Joseph M

    Disappointed about JC not making enough money to please the studios. I thought it looked fantastic and had a great sense of adventure and imagination. I would have liked to see the story progress through sequels, too. That said, the budget issue was a real clanger and Disney completely failed with the marketing. They should have called it John Carter And The Teenage Vampire Superheroes of Mars.

  • Redjester

    I feel like David Fincher should up the ante and release his Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sequel storyboards for the music video-esque movie intros.

  • Strong Enough

    good movie

  • milo

    Wait…you’re telling me this character had something to do with the planet Mars? That’s pretty cool, if I had known that maybe I would have actually gone to see the movie…

  • james

    Nope. And I have the LOTR blu rays. Looks fine. Amazing for 2001.