Andrew Stanton came to London recently to show clips from John Carter and talk to the press. I’ve previously shared his comments on the film’s title, and his passionate desire to radically shake up the whole film industry.
Now we get to some real meat.
Stanton also spoke about his restructuring of Edgar Rice Burrough’s whole series of novels to best serve a “part one” movie, and then a bit later, his plans for the second and third films in the series.
Here’s Mr. Stanton explaining how he drew on later books in the series for to make this film better:
There was no main villain in Princess of Mars, and the villain would change every few chapters. There’s that axiom “You”re only as good as your villain” and I don’t know if that’s true but I didn’t want to find out the hard way. I went to later books and found a villain that did scope over multiple stories, and I brought him in earlier.
He had an agenda that was equal to the scope of Carter, and that’s how I’d want to balance it out anyway with any antagonistic situation even if I was making an original film. We were just using good old school storytelling techniques.
And that’s why Mark Strong is playing Matai Shang in the first John Carter movie.
Book one might tap a little from later books but there’s still plenty remaining in the other ten volumes to make for further films, and as Stanton explains, they’ve already been doing the groundwork for two more:
We bought the rights to the first three books when we first started. I thought, let’s set it off right because you never get time back.
The worse case scenario is that you’ll plan for more but only make one. But what I’d hate is that you’d plan for one with no preparation for the others, because it’ll show. It’ll really bite you in the back end.
I never expected anyone to say we’d definitely do more than one. It’s a huge risk for them… and It’s a huge chunk of change to make any of these movies, something this big. So it made complete sense to me, from their side of the fence, to wait until the movie’s out.
So if the worst is that it was just a writing exercise for me to plan the others and then I never get to do them, I don’t think I’ll have any regrets. So we’ve been planning out all three all along, just on the chance that they do go ahead.
That’s three in the planning stage, but Stanton does see even further beyond:
My fan wish is that we’ll go to all eleven stories and make more.
John Carter will have to make an absolute truckload to merit a sequel, or two but, actually, I think it’s got the real stuff.
Later in the week, I’ll tell you about some of what I saw in the clips, the ideas and images that aren’t anywhere in the trailers, and how exciting it all looked to me.
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