Before the film that became known as Disney's John Carter ended up in the doubtlessly capable hands of WALL-E and Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton, the live-action adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic adventure hero was to be a Paramount Pictures production called John Carter of Mars, helmed by Kerry Conran, director of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. A demo reel that includes test special effects, some human performances and loads of beautiful conceptual images expresses what Conran would have done with the famous story. While the results are not radically different from Stanton's similarly reverent approach to the material, which we'll see when the film opens next month, they're distinct enough to enjoy for their own merits. I was a big fan of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and very impressed when I heard that Conran was to direct the sci fi fantasy John Carter of Mars. There's been no official word of why that project fell through, but John Carter passed briefly into the hands of Iron Man director Jon Favreau before Paramount lost the rights to the property altogether. Pixar mainstay Andrew Stanton urged Disney to become involved, and the film version is finally coming to cinemas 100 years after Burroughs first published A Princess of Mars.

Conran's demo reel includes conceptual artwork by comic book artist Gabriel Hardman (Secret Avengers, Agents of Atlas).