What Really Happened? — John Carter (of Mars)

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series is a granddaddy of science fiction. It’s fantastical, a bit insane, and somewhat dated perhaps, but it has influenced much of the sci-fi in our world.

So when a movie based on the first book, A Princess of Mars, was finally being made, we should’ve been excited. Disney was producing the film, titled initially as John Carter of Mars, but things went south somewhere along the way. Instead of keeping with the largely flawless Disney pedigree in marketing, they changed the title to simply “John Carter” and seemed to be on the long road to death by a thousand cuts. The originally planned trilogy began and ended with the first film’s release in 2012.

In today’s world, the Barsoom series probably fits better as a longer form television series, similar to how they’ve paced Game of Thrones. As a fan of the books and the film, this was a great podcast to listen to - explaining a significant portion of “what really happened.” If you like movies and how they are produced, this podcast may be particularly interesting to you. Even better for Barsoom fans... like me!


“John Carter is one of history's biggest box office flops: $250 million... gone. But, it was directed by two-time Academy Award winner Andrew Stanton, had Disney’s marketing prowess, and was based on the book that inspired Star Wars and Avatar. What Really Happened? This episode is the anatomy of a blockbuster gone bust, a possibility even when the person in charge is brilliant.

Guests: Andrew Stanton (filmmaker), Michael Sellers (author, filmmaker, former CIA officer), Germain Lussier (film critic), Robert McKee (author, lecturer, story consultant), Matt Singer (film critic), and Brooks Barnes (New York Times Media and Entertainment reporter)”


LV.25Mootiversary!a day ago

ScreenRant: Metro 2033 Movie Scrapped After Failed Attempt To Americanise Story

MGM’s planned take on Metro 2033 was abandoned following a failed attempt to Americanize the story. Metro 2033 started life as a novel by author Dmitry Glukhovsky and follows the survivors of a nuclear attack on Russia living underground in the sprawling metro system. The protagonist Artyom embarks on an epic journey to uncover the mystery behind the Dark Ones and has to fight warring factions and mutated creatures along the way.

Metro 2033 went on to spawn two sequel books and an acclaimed video game series, with the third game Metro: Exodus set for release in early 2019. Both the books and games combine sci-and horror with a strong political subtext, and the concept is inherently cinematic. It announced back in 2012 that MGM would spearhead a big screen adaption, with F. Scott Frazier (xXx: Return Of Xander Cage) hired to write a script.

Little has been heard of this planned Metro 2033 movie in the years since it was announced, but in a new interview with VG247, Glukhovsky confirmed the project was scrapped and the rights have reverted back to him. While he says Metro: Exodus could potentially kickstart the stalled project, there’s currently no movement on it:

“The project with MGM optioning this book and developing a script had brought us to nothing and the rights reverted to me. So currently we are speaking with a new set of producers about a possible adaptation but this is a very long and difficult process. I’m still optimistic. We’ll see if the release of Metro Exodus can push the IP across a little bit the oceans and see how that works.”

The author also revealed MGM tried to transplant the action and political subtext from Moscow to Washington DC, but it just didn’t work:

“A lot of things didn’t work out in Washington DC. In Washington DC, Nazis don’t work, Communists don’t work at all, and the Dark Ones don’t work. Washington DC is a black city basically. That’s not at all the allusion I want to have, it’s a metaphor of general xenophobia but it’s not a comment on African Americans at all. So it didn’t work. They had to replace the Dark Ones with some kind of random beasts and as long as the beasts don’t look human, the entire story of xenophobia doesn’t work which was very important to me as a convinced internationalist. They turned it into a very generic thing.”

In a way, it's not a surprise MGM tried to Americanize Metro 2033, but considering the source material is fundamentally Russian, any such attempt was almost certainly doomed to failure. MGM was likely concerned a big budget blockbuster following Russian characters probably wouldn’t appeal to American audiences, but given the worldwide popularity of the Metro franchise, it was probably a risk worth taking.

Metro: Exodus will take players deeper into the wasteland than ever before, and is set after Metro: Last Light. In addition to new gameplay mechanics, the title will also tell an epic story that takes place over the course of a year. Like Glukhovsky states, perhaps renewed interest in the series following Exodus will help a Metro 2033 movie get moving again. If studios are still concerned about movie’s appeal to an American audience, maybe a streaming service like Netflix would be a better fit for the project.



My take:
As a huge fan of the Metro series, both the games and the books, this is probably for the better. Still, it’s always sad to see a story with such significant potential fail to make it through the gauntlet.

LV.25Mootiversary!2 days ago

POPULARShould have gone for the head

LV.19Sage5 days ago

She's almost here!

LV.19Wizard11 days ago

Life's great!

LV.5Lurker11 days ago