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Concept footage reveals stunning, aborted John Carter of Mars film we never saw

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Jul 6, 2015, 11:52 AM EDT

Despite being a box-office bomb, Disney's John Carter wasn't as bad as advertised ... but the version we could've gotten looks so much better.

A 6+ minute concept reel showing off art, effects tests and some nifty fight scenes has surfaced online from the version that was in development before eventual director Andrew Stanton cast success-kryptonite Taylor Kitsch in the title role. Once upon a time, Kerry Conran (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) was attached to direct a version for Paramount that looks to be a bit more faithful to Edgar Rice Burrough's acclaimed sci-fi tale. In case you're wondering, yes, it was actually called John Carter of Mars.

For a project this visually ambitious, Conran could've actually been a good fit. Not that Stanton did a terrible job (that blame rests with Disney for having no clue how to market the film he made), but this sizzle reel is a window into the gorgeous film that Conran envisioned. It's a shame that the costly John Carter debacle means this beloved series will almost certainly never get another shot at becoming a blockbuster.

Check out the footage below and let us know what you think:

(Via Harry Knowles, Collider)