Three years ago, I was about to go seeing John Carter on the first showing, first day of the release in Paris, France. Impossible to anticipate that I would flatly hate the movie on first viewing, and then adoring it later on unconditionaly, and participating as much as I could to the campaign for a sequel, without any success unfortunately. We were just simply not enough to state our interest.
What is left three years later? On the French part of my blog there's not a week without the John Carter 2 articles being read. The movie, to my knowledge, still hasn't been aired on national French television in prime time, when it's still aired in the United States, these days on TNT. Since John Carter, I confess I can't feel anything for all the movies that has been released since. It's as if the Andrew Stanton movie had me be completely numb in that regard. I'm watching in complete indifference the Avengers 2 and Star Wars 7 trailers. Those movies will be released in theaters without me caring one bit.
The John Carter rights have since gone back to ERB inc, and the only things that came out of it were the launch of a comic strip on d'ERB inc's website, and the relaunch of the Dynamite Entertainment comic book, this time in an official fashion. That's all, if we don't take into account the release of a book, "Martian Legion"... costing some hundred dollars apiece. Since then the wolves have awaken on Facebook, condemning the adaptation by Stanton to speculate on a "reboot" absolutely no studio is interested in, and we still don't know what are Andrew Stanton"s projects post-Finding Dory (which will be released in 2016). No other project seems to be envisioned, while the Conan boardgame Kickstarter has gone higher than 3.3 million dollars. No connection, you could tell me, but I wasn't the only one in the comment section to wonder that such a game would be an extraordinary fit for John Carter. In fact, on the 3 "pulp" author most read today, meaning Lovecraft, Howard and Burroughs, only Burroughs has no representation whatsoever in the "geek" world, probably thanks to an overpriced licence. The Lovecraft adaptations were many even before Cthulhu went public domain, and Conan had quite a few adaptations in video game, roleplaying game and boardgame (even Solomon Kane had a succesfull roleplaying game adaptation). We can also evoke the numerous Michael Morrcock's Elric adaptations.
So, three years thereafter, nothing of note unfortunately, except the bittersweet statement that the stagnation seems complete and unavoidable. Does the people even remotely interested in the property wait for the rights to fall into the public domain worldwide in 2020? (Burroughs doed in 1950, and the novels fall in public domain 70 years after that date in many European countries). All that will be left to ERB inc are a few trademarks, like John Carter or Barsoom, without any great value ultimately. ERB inc can't trademark "... of Mars", and even "Dejah Thoris" doesn't seem to be a trademark, since Dynamite Entertainment used it with impunity before landing the official rights. The story isn't over yet...
Magnificent poster below by Benoit Penaud (www.oroster.com) (thanks to Woola on Facebook for the identification!)