Today Disney has released the first official trailer for its 2012 film John Carter, an adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars. You can check out the trailer here along with the film’s teaser poster and official synopsis.
The book, first published nearly a century ago, was the first in Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series that proved over time to be very popular and highly influential on several generations of science-fiction writers and filmmakers. The film version, which was originally titled John Carter of Mars until the studio shortened it (perhaps in reaction to the poor box office performance of Mars Needs Moms), marks the live-action directorial debut of longtime Pixar animator and director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E).
Chosen to play Burroughs’ iconic hero, a Confederate soldier transported to the planet Mars who becomes embroiled in the affairs of two groups of warring Martians, is Taylor Kitsch, best known for playing Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights and Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Kitsch is supported by his Wolverine co-star Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris, Willem Dafoe (Platoon) as Tars Tarkas, Dominic West (The Wire) as Sab Than, James Purefoy (Solomon Kane) as Kantos Kahn, Mark Strong (Kick-Ass) as Matai Shang, Ciaran Hinds (There Will Be Blood) as Tardos Mors, Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) as Tal Hajus, and Samantha Morton (Minority Report) as Sola. Daryl Sabara of the Spy Kids movies appears as Burroughs himself in what looks to be a wraparound segment about the writer dealing with the death of his uncle. Novelist Michael Chabon (Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) contributed to the screenplay. Michael Giacchino (Star Trek, The Incredibles) will be composing the film’s score.
Having never read any of the John Carter series (I have a copy of A Princess of Mars from my local public library I’ve been meaning to read) I don’t know how faithful the filmmakers are remaining to Burroughs’ source material, but after watching this first trailer I’m getting a serious Cowboys & Aliens vibe from this movie. We do get a peek at the world of Barsoom (the name given to Mars by its inhabitants) and a few of the Martians, but the action seems… I don’t know, a bit Earthbound maybe. But then again, this is just a teaser trailer and the movie is still about nine months away from release. Stanton and company have plenty to time to pull this sucker off. Let’s just hope they did right by Burroughs.
John Carter opens on March 9, 2012.
From Academy Award®–winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes “John Carter”—a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). “John Carter” is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.