After decades in development limbo, the hero of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel, “John Carter of Mars,” will finally find his way onto the big screen with the guidance of director Andrew Stanton. But when he gets there, he’ll have dropped the “of Mars.”
After a rather controversial title change, the classic title “John Carter of Mars” became the shortened and genre-neutral “John Carter.”
For fans of the original Burroughs novels, this came as a move away from the beloved source materials, and Stanton admitted to MTV News’ Josh Horowitz that the change concerned him initially as well. “At first, I bristled, to be really honest. You can’t control people’s first impressions as much as you’d like,” he said. “There are just a lot of people that assume that it’s this weird astronaut/ space thing when you have ’Mars’ in the title.”
The change took time to accept, but with it, Stanton found a new angle of the story to explore. “Even then, I wasn’t going to be swayed, but then I realized, ’Wow, the movie’s really about a guy that becomes John Carter of Mars,'” Stanton said. “I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but then I sort of thought, ’All right, so now that actually makes sense. Maybe I can pull something that I haven’t seen people do in a movie before.’ ”
But what’s in a name? Stanton said that if he made a movie people can love, then not much. “My feeling is, if you like a movie, heck, you can call it ’Dirt,’ and they’ll call it whatever for the rest of the time it exists,” Stanton said.
The title change was among Disney’s several marketing choices that took heat from fans. But Stanton said he understands the challenge of marketing one of his unorthodox films, like his last movie, “WALL-E.”
“Disney’s been changing hands, so it’s been a little bit of all hands on deck, but I feel we’re finally in good hands and we’re settling in,” Stanton said. “It’s not like anything else exactly. I’m used to giving Disney movies that they’re not used to selling, so I knew it would be a bumpy road, to be fair to them.”
What do you think of Disney’s decision to drop “of Mars” from the title? Leave your comment below!