Once upon a time Kerry Conran (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) was slated to direct an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough‘s beloved science fiction series John Carter of Mars for Paramount. Of course, that didn’t pan out, and what we ended up with was Disney’s John Carter, the Taylor Kitsch-led box office disaster that generated a bizarre amount of hate for what I understand was just a kind of okay movie.
For those who wanted to see what Conran’s version might have looked like, today’s your luck day. Harry Knowles, who was set to produce the axed adaptation, has released a high-res version of the presentation reel, featuring tons of gorgeous artwork and some solid fight choreography. A low-res version of this video has been floating around the internet for a while, but this version is crisp and offers a solid idea of what Conran had in mind for his film’s aesthetic. And it looks pretty great. Check it out for yourself below.
I’m going to be totally real with you right now. I know nothing about John Carter except it’s a Civil War guy on Mars. The books have been on my to-do list for about a decade and I never got around to watching the movie – probably because people responded to it like it was cinematic plague. After watching this trailer I still don’t really know anything about the story of John Carter, but it looks cool as hell. I would definitely watch this movie.
Sadly, it’s a movie we’re never going to see. Not only would a studio be a little nutty to touch the property after Disney’s renowned failure, Conran hasn’t made a feature film since Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow – which is actually kind of depressing. Sky Captain is a mostly forgotten film that deserves better. Conran has a unique eye, great world-building skills, and a clear love for science fiction. I’d love to see him get another shot at a feature. Until then, I encourage you to hunt down his charming 2012 short film Gumdrop about a robot who wants to be an actress.