Disney’s $350 million epic disaster John Carter might not have been well received by audiences, but that doesn’t mean the story of the Civil War veteran who gets transported to Mars is dead to audiences just yet. In fact, it recently became apparent that unfortunately John Carter 2 might actually happen.
Yes, you heard me correctly. The rights to John Carter of Mars have reverted from Disney back to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. (the estate of the author), and president James Sullos made it clear in a statement that he’s holding out hope that John Carter will become a successful franchise a la The Avengers, and we all have the billionth Tarzan reboot to thank for it:
John Carter of Mars was the creative stimulus behind such movie classics as Superman, Star Wars, and Avatar. Edgar Rice Burroughs was the Master of Adventure and his literary works continue to enjoy a worldwide following. We will be seeking a new partner to help develop new adventures on film as chronicled in the eleven Mars novels Burroughs wrote. This adventure never stops. Along with a new Tarzan film in development by Warner Bros., we hope to have John Carter of Mars become another major franchise to entertain worldwide audiences of all ages.
Oh good, there’s eleven of these books. And while it may have been the inspiration for great stories like Superman and Star Wars (please note my deliberate exclusion of Avatar) does John Carter of Mars really make a great movie? Clearly, you can spend all the money in the world on it (which Disney did, by the way) but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Burroughs’s written works translate well on screen. It’s an odd story to begin with.
And it would seem logical to say, “Well, with a different director…” but Andrew Stanton, who directed the first (and currently, only) John Carter, is not just some inexperienced hack. He’s the director of Finding Nemo, WALL E, and A Bug’s Life, and wrote all three Toy Story movies. All of those movies are pretty awesome and show his skill and experience working with Disney and Disney audiences, so you can’t just drop the blame for John Carter in his lap.
Additionally, while Taylor Kitsch’s heavy-breathing acting left a lot to be desired, John Carter had a number of excellent actors in the cast, including Ciaran Hinds, Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong, and Bryan Cranston, so it’s very difficult to see a re-cast John Carter sequel somehow magically fixing all of the mistakes made by the first.
So will a sequel actually happen? Only time will tell. Now, John Carter is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but there are much better things to be spending movie money on, and, considering the fate of the many other movies that Hollywood has repeatedly struggled to make successful with endless reboots, here’s hoping that the John Carter 2 option gets shelved in favor of something else.