John Carter Battles Albino King Kong in John Carter

John Carter, John Carter of Mars, Disney

As you can see from the pic above, John Carter is having a bad day, but it could get a whole lot worse because this actually isn’t the biggest problem he has to deal with in Walt Disney’s John Carter.

There was a time when the only worry John Carter had was whether he’d catch a bullet in the head while fighting the Civil War, but things have changed since he found himself transported to Mars. Walt Disney’s John Carter is based on the John Carter of Mars book series that was created almost a 100 years ago by Edgar Rice Burroughs (the same guy that introduced us to Tarzan). Carter is a Civil War vet that finds himself transported to Mars… and right in the middle of another war.

In addition to being populated by numerous beautiful women wearing skimpy clothing (according to the covers on the novels, anyway), Mars has a pretty wild collection of wildlife, with the White Apes being just one small part of the ecosystem. In Burrough’s novels, the White Apes are basically just really large gorillas, but director Andrew Stanton revealed to that he wanted more when the animal was brought to the big screen.

“They were always cool, just from a visceral standpoint,” says Stanton, “ [but] they don’t really have a narrative function in the first book. So what we did is we made the White Apes a formidable creature that you kind of hear about throughout the movie, but you never really witness. There’s a subtle sense of anticipation for what these things might be like.”

In addition to being a lot bigger than their literary counterparts, the big screen version of the White Apes have another noticeable difference.

“[Designer Michael Kutsche] made them nocturnal, almost like moles — they stopped using their eyes, and just had a heightened sense of smell,” Stanton says. “We just love that.”

It looks like it will be an impressive scene and I can’t wait to see how John Carter translates to the big screen. I used to read the books all the time. They were a little dated (of course), but the books made for an entertaining read. Hopefully Disney is able to capture that sense of adventure and fun.

John Carter begins his adventure in theaters on March 9, 2012.

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