The teaser trailer for John Carter gave moviegoers a taste for the story of its title character, a Civil War vet (played by Friday Night Lights‘ Taylor Kitsch) who finds himself inexplicably plopped onto the war-ravaged surface of Mars. The new full trailer, however, is our first real look at just how dangerous and exotic the planet really is, filled with hordes of hostile races of four-armed green men and tattooed red men, fearsome white apes and an oddly loveable frog-like dog (or is that dog-like frog?), all of it from the imagination of author Edgar Rice Burroughs, who penned the “John Carter of Mars” series of books the film is based on nearly 100 years ago.
To help make better sense of it all, EW spoke exclusively with director Andrew Stanton (WALL•E, Finding Nemo), who happily walked us through the many creatures and characters that populate his film. Well, to a point. As you’ll see, Stanton has some rather strong feelings about the epidemic of spoilers that choke most modern Hollywood trailers, and he is not afraid to share them.
First, let’s check out the new John Carter trailer itself:
Before we dive into the details of the trailer, Stanton wants to be clear: “I can tell you who the cast is and what the places are, but I’m not going to connect all the dots.” Turns out, the two-time Oscar winner is steadfast in his belief that movie trailers should not reveal the entire film months before you even get a chance to see it.
“Why would anybody want to do that?” he asks, gearing up for a top flight tirade. “First of all, I want the list of who really wants that [in a trailer] outside of marketers who are afraid of their own audience. It makes no sense to me. Who wants the answer to the end of the book before they buy the book? Every single time I go to the theater in the last 10 years, there’s been a trailer that’s too long, and somebody, no matter if they’re in the business or not, or whether they’re 6 or 60, says, ‘Well, they showed me too much. It must be a bad movie.’ I hear it every time. So when are Hollywood marketers and studios going to wake up and stop doing that? I will never contribute to it, so long as I have any say. I think it’s rude and I think it’s demeaning and it undermines the intelligence of the audience. I want you to be teased and excited and have as much hope that you’ll enjoy yourself, but there’s still a mystery about it. My goal isn’t to protect information. My goal is to hopefully protect the thrill you might get from not knowing everything before you go into a theater. I may not be able to control it as much as I’d like to, but if I can, that’s what I’m going for. It’s the only reason to work this hard!” He laughs. “I want to answer all your questions [about the trailer], but I don’t want to accidentally contribute to the dilution of ‘Well, I think I know the whole movie. I don’t want to go see it.’”
With that in mind, let’s leap further into the world of John Carter.