‘John Carter of Mars’ Trailer
The “what if” game is always a hard one for John Carter fans. What if Disney had done a better job marketing the film? What if the film was called John Carter of Mars instead of John Carter? While we may never know the answer to these questions, I for one don’t believe it’s too late to change things.
True, we cannot alter the past but that doesn’t mean we cannot shape the future. My take on how the debut trailer for John Carter of Mars should have been like can be seen below. Unlike official trailers from Disney for John Carter, I attempt to first instill upon the viewers the importance of John Carter and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Those with keen eyes will note the 3 act structure to the trailer, much like a film’s marketing campaign via trailers. Let me explain:
The first part of a trailer is designed to set the stage for ERB. While it doesn’t spent too much time on ERB, it lets readers know that this work was done over 100 years ago. While some might absorb that fact, many might not truly take it in, which is where act 2 comes in. The job of act 2 is to set some clear examples for the audience like Star Wars, Avatar, and Superman which all came after John Carter. While not beating it into the audience, this helps them bring their guards down towards what they will be witnessing next. Finally, act 3 takes readers into the world of John Carter and gives them that full rush experience which, in the end, any successful trailer needs to do.
As mentioned, most movies work on a 3 part trailer system. A teaser trailer, followed by a plot based trailer to lay out what’s at risk and a 3rd trailer that highlights key aspects with traditionally more action. One of the key mistakes I believe Disney made with the original John Carter material was that the world before them was never properly laid out and so the content never had much context.
My trailer really acts as the first teaser trailer, helping set the stage. It’s light on plot – but plot wasn’t its goal. Instead, it’s meant to build a frame work for audience that the second trailer can expand from. Once again, if we look at my trailer, during act 2 where I reference the movies that John Carter inspired, I showed the world of Barsoom, then its people, and I end with John Carter abilities like being able to jump great distances.
I believe that another mistake from Disney was that the original trailer shows John Carter doing these incredible things but he isn’t a superhero like Superman or Spider-Man. Automatically, the audience is at a loss. Suddenly, John Carter’s jumping skills come off corny or as a rip off of other works instead of a great sense of power and amazement. Prior to the movie’s release, as Disney began to realize that they didn’t have a captured audience, they began to push the film’s action with the White Apes. Again, a big no no in my book. Your main hero, whom the audience doesn’t have a connection to, is fighting these huge animals and is able to jump over them, rip a bolder from the ground, and throw it at them in order to defeat them. Instead of being amazed, audiences are left scratching their head. Don’t believe me? Here are some comments left on the John Carter trailer on the Disney’s official YouTube channel:
It’s Like… Star Wars… Avatar… and 300 got together, had WAY to much fun and spawned this potential mess of a movie. But I want to see it anyway.
The battle scenes seem completely epic, but it basically does seem like a star wars/avatar mix. Surpised they had blood in a disney film other than the pirates series, lol (even though the blood was blue)
So John Carter is like Superman but for Mars?
Avatar meets Star Wars.
So basically this is Avatar’s and Star Wars’ bastard child?
Already a remake of avatar?!
Avatar + Star Wars + He-Man, with a twist of Smurf’s blood
So avatar meets clash of the titan?
the story is the same like avatar!
I could go on but I believe you all get the point. John Carter without context simply does not work in this day and age and that’s what my trailer sets out to do. Besides the scene where I educated the public that Superman is based off of John Carter’s ability to jump, I never again show him jumping. The White Apes? They don’t even make it into my trailer.
So while general audiences might have scoffed off the idea of John Carter, I believe that we as fans of John Carter and ERB can instill into them information that will make them look at the world of Barsoom in a different way. Fans, more than ever, have a say and while I believe my trailer helps deliver my vision and goals, it’s by no means the definitive take. Nor should my work be the only one. I hope that the John Carter community continues to create and enrich the world with fan fiction, art, and trailers. If you have fan content, I want to see it. Contact me on Twitter (@SohrabOsati) or on our official account at @BackToBarsoom.
What did you think of my take on the John Carter of Mars trailer?
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