Kerry Conran’s (very cool) “John Carter of Mars” Pitch Video for Paramount


Those who have been following the seemingly endless journey of John Carter to the screen will recall that back in 2004 Kerry Conran (director of Sky Pilot and the World of Tomorrow) was attached to direct the film for Paramount when that studio had the rights.  An ERB pal, Khanada Taylor, brought this video to my attention — which is Conran’s project pitch video and contains a lot of interesting art I haven’t seen before, and gives clues as to where Conran was headed with the project (before he was replaced by Rodriguez, who was replaced by Favreau, who was eventually replaced by Disney and Stanton).

Also I’ve selected some still images from the video.  There are some really great concept art images in this video!

UPDATE: As is frequently the case — Bill Hillman at ERBzine was on top of this at the time, many years ago, and has a wonderful couple of pages on it.


  • I had heard of this when Conran was working on it (following SKY CAPTAIN), and while this is beautiful–the concept art alone is mouth-watering to say the least–I can only look at it as, “Well, it might have been.” It was a project that never made it to full production.

    On the other hand, Stanton’s film has been made, is in post-production, and will be released in March. My thoughts are on that film, especially the fact that it’s coming 100 years after the publication of the original novel.

  • No……..when I got it the only place I knew it was online was at lgifilms — just the video. I googled it before posting, mainly to check and see if it was already up on Youtube and I had just missed it — and there was nothing, and neither your article nor Bill Hillman’s (posted some years ago, it turns out), came up on the first page of results. Sorry ………now it’s up on everything from i09 to slashfilm, imdb, you name it ……. Sorry again!

  • Despite the differences to the original stories, I really love this pitch video! I do think Stanton’s version will be closer in many key respects… details such as creatures, lands, and the core of the characters will all be done well because he referred to the Barsoomian glossary as his bible while they created and filmed. That gives me very high hopes!!

  • Nope, no floating cities in John Carter. Subterranean cities, cities built into golden cliffs, carved from volcanic obsidian, invisible cities, domes (exclusive to the northern ice caps).

    john carter has just about everything BUT floating cities, I think there may have been one in the tarzan books i am really not sure!

    Overall I think this one would have deviated too far from the books, while still being a good movie . . .and too me that is a bad thing . . . because then people begin to identify with the movie instead of the books

    It happened with Tarzan and Superman

    Superman films would have you believe his only villains are Zod and LEx Luthor (superman has a TON of villains and the movie made up Zod), and those crystal visuals are garbage and it makes krypton look like an uncreative place (when in the comics they were an excessively COLORFUl people hence supermans costume)

    And the Tarzan movies . . . the less said the better, I think even ERB had to take a few stabs at them

  • I read the screenplay for that one and Stanton is far closer to the original. But he got Dejah Thoris right……. the floating stuff — wasn’t there a floating city somewhere in one of the books? Or just the elevator thingy’s to get away from assassins? I’m trying to remember…….3 moons in the sky — well, 90% of the illustrations have 2 moons in the sky, is it 3 moons or Saturn? Perspective is way off. I was complaining about Stanton not showing the two moons properly, then checked and discovered how tiny they would look. I think some license in that area would have been acceptable. He’s got one shot that I’ve seen in one of the trailers that shows the two moons, pretty small………. also this kind of pitch video would not have reflected final art design….just early concept stuff. a lot might have changed.

  • my opinions on this are odd, I am not going to pretend to know how it would have turned out . . . it looks good

    but it has alot of contradictory elements that seem pointless (floating stuff, 3 moons in sky)

    I think maybe had it been released, it would have been a beautiful but confusing and really hard to follow movie, with jarring pacing, but overall fun

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