From John Carter to Tarzan

Even though Hollywood often seems like it is out of ideas, there are still plenty of franchises in the vaults waiting to be reborn, and then rebooted a scant 10 years later.

In this regard, I’m rather curious as to where Tarzan could land in today’s pop culture landscape. Now that director David Yates is done with the Harry Potter series, it’s been reported on Deadline he may be up to revive Tarzan, the legendary lord of the jungle that was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who also wrote John Carter.

Warner Brothers apparently owns the movies rights to the legendary ape man, and perhaps they want to keep Yates under the studio umbrella and help bring back one of their most legendary properties.


All this comes at a rather interesting time because there’s now an Edgar Rice Burroughs postage stamp to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Tarzan and John Carter. As website TheJohnCarterFiles tells us, the stamp is a “forever” stamp, which means you can use it to send something First Class forever, no matter how much postage rates change in the future.


Burroughs was quite a literary powerhouse in his time. As Burroughs biographer John Taliaferro tells us in his book Tarzan Forever, “A formal accounting of Burrough’s total sales has never been made, but the most conservative estimate is thirty million books sold during his lifetime; a more generous tally is sixty million…”

Because of his business acumen, Tarzan was everywhere, in movies, on the radio, comic books, newspaper comic strips, and more.


The late great Ray Bradbury also felt Burroughs was a very important force in literature. As Bradbury told Lawrence Grobel in Playboy, Burroughs “was a great romantic and he caused changes in children which were very important…when you’re ten he reads like gangbusters. And it’s immediate, it goes right into your blood-stream – you act, you climb a tree and fall off… We’re on the moon because of Burroughs…”


So far, there’s little else known except that Yates could indeed direct a Tarzan flick for Warner Brothers, and his story is quite an epic adventure full of peril, drama and romance, and audiences could definitely respond favorably if it’s done right. Tons of property resurrections like this are announced all the time and disappear, but if Tarzan can go the distance, I’m curious to see if he can be king of the jungle again.