John Carter of Mars cast updates, rumors

The confirmed cast for Disney/Pixar’s “John Carter of Mars” is growing. Andrew Stanton is producing/directing the (mostly) live action movie, for which principal photography should begin in a few more weeks.

According to The Hollywood Reporter and IMDB, we know the cast lineup so far is:

Taylor Kitsch starring as John Carter, Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris, Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkus, Mark Strong as Matai Shang, Dominic West as Sab Than, Thomas Hayden Church as Tal Hajus, James Purefoy as Kantos Kan, Daryl Sabara as Edgar Rice Burroughs (yes, he DOES appear in the books), Samantha Morton as Sola, and Polly Walker as Sarkoja.

Some weird, bizarre, stupid Website that manufactures gossip alleges that Taylor Kitsch is doing cocaine on-set — which I think is pretty amazing since, as I noted above, principal photography has yet to begin. I suppose if Taylor is sitting alone out there in the fields of Utah he might be asking for companions to be brought to his studio but in Utah? If you’re going to make up stuff about people, you should get your timing right. Anyway, I only mention this in the event that people start to pick up on the rumor. It’s false, fake, not real, and totally bogus. Besides, it’s simply not true.

More reputable Web sites (like SciFi Wire), however, are starting to speculate (based on the character list) that the first three books may be compressed into one movie. Now, I have no inside information and I suppose there is every possibility that the first movie will depart from the literary canon in numerous ways — but, frankly, these characters could just be cameos intended to set up for the next two movies (that we’ve already heard are being considered). It’s too soon for people to be jumping up and down, putting on their Purist Panic hats.

Here is a quick breakdown of how A Princess of Mars, the first book in the series, goes:

John Carter is a U.S. Civil War veteran who fought on the losing side. He goes to Arizona to seek his fortune and runs afoul of some Apache warriors and a bear. Dying in a cave, he finds his spirit transported to a new body on Mars, where because of its lower gravity he has superhuman strength compared to the native humanoids. At first captured by the towering, four-armed Green Men, Carter is taught/befriended by Sola, the daughter of one of their princes. Sola confides to Carter that her birth was very unusual in that she knows who her parents are

While in captivity Carter meets Dejah Thoris, a princess of the Red Men (who but for their very red skin look like Earth’s humans). Carter falls in love with her. They are tormented by Tal Hajus, ruler of the tribe of Green Men who have captured them, but Carter gradually wins the friendship and respect of Tars Tarkus, Sola’s father, who becomes Carter’s greatest friend and ally on Barsoom (Mars). Sola herself is tormented by the evil Sarkoja, who was responsible for the death of Sola’s mother and who raised Sola as a slave.

Sab Than is a prince among the Red Men who wants to marry Dejah Thoris. Kantos Kan is an officer in the Navy of Helium, Dejah Thoris’ country, and he is very loyal to her family. Kantos Kan becomes one of Carter’s chief allies and closest friends on Barsoom.

Matia Shang is the Jeddak of the Therns, the White Men of Barsoom. They also serve as the planet’s priestly caste, protecting an ancient, deadly secret about the planet that they have abused for untold millennia to their own advantage. Shang eventually becomes an unwanted suitor for Dejah Thoris and one of John Carter’s most hated enemies.

So how will all this play out in Stanton’s movie(s)? I don’t know and I won’t pretend to know. I’m waiting for more information.

We have an ongoing John Carter of Mars discussion at SF-Fandom. Please feel free to join in.

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