It is no secret that Disney was hoping that 2012’s John Carter was going to be the start of franchise for the studio. Writer/director Andrew Stanton was drawing on the first of a series of pulp novels from Edgar Rice Burroughs and there was plenty more source material to be mined. Stanton even got so far as to working on a screenplay for a second film. But poor marketing of the film led to poor box office – a plethora of luke-warm reviews at best certainly didn’t help either – and ultimately, Disney took a $200 markdown on the project, definitely killing any hopes for a sequel. (Michael D. Seller’s great and frankly damning book John Carter and the Gods of Hollywoodcharts how the film’s chance of success was severely undermined by a complete failure of Disney’s marketing department.)
But what would have happened if the film had done well enough to warrant execs giving Stanton the go-ahead for a sequel?
Well John Carter star Taylor Kitsch has an idea as to what a second film would have been like. Speaking with Variety about appearing in the indie drama The Normal Heart, which opened last weekend, as well as an upcoming HBO project, talking turned to what a sequel to what is now considered one of Disney’s most notorious flops, at least until The Lone Ranger came along the following year, would have been like.
I know the second script was fucking awesome. We had to plant a grounding, so we could really take off in the second one. The second one was even more emotionally taxing, which was awesome.
For its flaws, though admittedly I didn’t see as many as some who seemed to be sharpening their axes for the film long before it was actually in theaters, I did like John Carter and thought that Stanton had delivered a film that felt original, even when the pulp novel source material had been picked over for ideas by other writers and filmmakers for decades. Stanton certainly had a love for the character and the world that Burroughs had created around him and I was certainly game to see more of it explored cinematically. Sadly, it looks as if that door is closed forever.