When Disney's John Carter made its way to theaters in 2012, it was almost immediately considered a box office bomb. It wasn't due to terrible storytelling as much as it was a bungled marketing strategy and an overblown budget, but either way the damage was done. No matter your thoughts on the movie, its performance has led many fans of the book series to consider, "what if?"
The film is an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels that follow a brave adventurer known as John Carter of Mars, and those stories have long been great source material. In fact, Kerry Conran, the director of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, even put together his own Presentation Reel with storyboarded John Carter art.
Eventually, Disney lobbied for the rights, but now Harry Knowles (who would have produced the Paramount version had it happened) has released a glimpse into what could have been. Check it out below.
Here's a quick breakdown of how John Carpenter's journeys could have looked if things went a bit differently during production.
Befriending a kingdom of warriors
As you can see, there are major elements of the character design that made their way into the final product.
Meeting a beautiful princess
Who is apparently related to Ivy from Soul Caliber (at least when it comes to clothing choices).
Discovering a world ruled by war
I'm definitely seeing the Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow influence here.
Some action sequences were even filmed and partially animated
Though this is clearly not intended for final viewing, it's an impressive glimpse into how far along Paramount got in creating this movie.
And it all ends with a nice scantily-clad romance
Be sure to watch the full video for action sequences and even more dreamy storyboarding.
Now the the film rights have landed back in the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs, it's entirely possible (if not likely) that we will see the return of John Carter at some point in the future. His estate has admitted that would like to try for another adaptation of Burroughs' classic tales, so if another studio is willing to take a chance on this property, prepare for another visit to Mars!