John Carter featurette is historic

This week, Disney released a new featurette for its upcoming science fiction adventure film, John Carter, which is based on A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The featurette gives us some great new clips from the film, mostly focused around John, and is longer and much more engaging than the one we saw a week ago.

The video puts a point on the historic literary importance of John Carter as a franchise. Burroughs, in general, introduced audiences to many of the tropes that are a standard part of the fantasy and science fiction stories, especially those which take place on alien worlds.

We also get a bit of explanation from the actors, showing how excited they have been to work on the film, which is always nice to see, as it offers assurances that the performances will hit close to their targets.

The official synopsis is thus:

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes “John Carter”–a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). “John Carter” is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.

In the original A Princess of Mars, John Carter, an American Civil War veteran turned prospector, is set upon by natives in the wilderness of the American West. Left for dead in the brush, John is whisked off to Mars, Dorothy-style. There he meets the Martians, who are vying for control over the scarce resources of the dying planet.

One of the factions is the city of Helium, the princess of which Carter falls in love with instantly, and whose frequent need for rescuing is the driving force in much of the story. The Dejah Thoris in these clips, however, seems a bit more self-sufficient that the one in the first novel, though she does become less ‘damsel in distress’ and more ‘warrior princess’ in the later books, and I suppose that’s the version of the character director Andrew Stanton decided would work best here.

John Carter, starring Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), Mark Strong (Green Lantern), Willem Dafoe (Miral), and Lynn Collins (Drift), hits theaters on March 9, 2012.