Have you seen the new trailer for Disney’s forthcoming John Carter of Mars movie? Doesn’t it look great? Rousing and spectacular and beautiful. I can’t wait to see it.
Unfortunately, the trailer also makes John Carter look suspiciously like a cross between Star Wars and Avatar, and I suspect a lot of people are going to be complaining that it’s just a rip-off. If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’re probably sufficiently clued-up to know why nothing could be further from the truth.
John Carter is, of course adapted from the book A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The book was serialised in 1912 and published in its complete novel form in 1917. It doesn’t just predate the films of George Lucas and James Cameron, it predates pretty much the entire film industry and most of the literature we now lump under the headings of science fiction and fantasy.
So when you’re sat in the cinema next year, with your popcorn carton in your hand and your 3D glasses perched on your nose, watching Hollywood latest muscular hero exploring alien desertscapes, fighting huge monsters in vast amphitheatres, allying himself with exotic multi-limbed humanoids and befriending beautiful princesses in metal bikinis, just remember this: John Carter came first.