John Carter isn’t even arriving in theaters until March 9th, 2012, but like many a high-profile would-be blockbuster before it, they’re already got their eyes on the franchise. Bleeding Cool was in London to see John Carter director Andrew Stanton premiering some clips from the film, and they’re reporting that Stanton is already working on the potential second and third movies. Think that’s optimistic? If Stanton has his way, he’ll “go to all eleven stories and make more.”
Stanton said that they bought the rights for the first three of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter books at the outset. (That includes A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and The Warlord of Mars.) While he is working on planning out the second and third movies, he’s not exactly counting pre-hatched chickens just yet. Here’s what he said:
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.
Even if the movie isn’t the kind of success it needs to be and we only get one John Carter movie, fans will still get to see bits of the later books. While the movie is mostly based on A Princess of Mars, the script also draws in elements from the rest of the series, including a villain in the form of Matai Shang (played in the film by Mark Strong):
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.
In the books by Burroughs, Matai Shang was a leader of a Martian cult called the Holy Therns, who practiced slavery and human (Martian?) sacrifices. Does that mean we’ll see John Carter going up against the Holy Therns onscreen next March? Either way, it’s cool to know that Stanton is thinking big and planning for John Carter’s future. Fingers crossed that we get to see it.