A Look At The JOHN CARTER That Never Was

A high quality version of the Kerry Conran demo reel.

A decade ago Kerry Conran was going to direct an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter of Mars for Paramount. Jon Favreau was on it for a while too before the rights lapses and it ended up at Disney and they made a vastly overhated feature that, even though I liked it, was still something of a whiff. 

Even typing the name Kerry Conran gives me a shot of internet nostalgia. The director of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow has all but disappeared, having released a short in 2012 but having done nothing else (according to IMDB) since about 2004. I guess those Sky Captain residuals are treating him better than I would have expected. 

Harry Knowles, who was a producer on this failed version of John Carter of Mars, has uploaded a higher res version of Conran's demo reel for the movie. It's been online before, but in murky quality, and this gives you a good look at just what Conran's thinking was back in the day. I think that his designs are great, although there's no guarantee those designs would have survived intact to the final film. And really the reel doesn't tell us how the movie would have worked, narratively as a whole. It's still a neat bit of ephemera; I think that what happened to John Carter is a travesty and that we should be living in a world where there are multiple sequels - John Carter and the Gods of Mars, John Carter and the Sword of MarsJohn Carter the Warlord of Mars - and we're all super excited about the Burroughsverse.