Why John Carter's director axed the words 'of Mars' from the title

Contributed by
Dec 16, 2012

Now that we've been left more than satisfied by the epic trailer for Andrew Stanton's John Carter, we're breathing a little easier about the flick. But some sci-fi purists still have a bone to pick with the Pixar alum, namely why he amputated the phrase "of Mars" from the title, which he'd already changed once from the Edgar Rice Burroughs original.

Stanton was in London last month to show 20 minutes of John Carter footage to press there, and he took the time to explain his title mutilation. He started with why he eliminated the original title of Burroughs' first Martian novel, A Princess of Mars:

"Here's the real truth of it. I'd already changed it from A Princess Of Mars to John Carter Of Mars. I don't like to get fixated on it, but I changed Princess Of Mars ... because not a single boy would go."

So then we're left with a flick called John Carter of Mars, which is still a satisfyingly sci-fi title, right? It's got the word Mars in it, at least. But then Stanton made another call:

"And then the other truth is, no girl would go to see John Carter Of Mars. So I said, 'I don't won't to do anything out of fear, I hate doing things out of fear, but I can't ignore that truth.'"
Yes, these sound like cynical, marketing-based reasons for changing the flick's name around. It sounds like something a Disney branding executive would do, not the guy who directed Wall-E and Finding Nemo. But Stanton's not done, and before you get ready to go after him with torches and pitchforks, rest assured he has a real, story-based reason for the change:
"All the time we were making this big character story which just so happens to be in this big, spectacular new environment. But it's not about the spectacle, it's about the investment. I thought, I've really worked hard to make all of this an origin story. It's about a guy becoming John Carter. So I'm not misrepresenting what this movie is, it's John Carter.

"Mars is going to stick on any other film in the series. But by then, it won't have a stigma to it."

And just like that, we've got a real answer for the title change and the hope of a sequel before we've even seen the flick. We'll have to wait until John Carter is released in March to see if Stanton's "origin story" explanation really plays out on screen, but in the meantime we'll give him a little credit. The guy made Wall-E, a flick that stars arguably the most adorable robot ever. That has to count for something.

(via Bleeding Cool)