Or at least spared us Shape Shifter Shang and Mopey Carter. In an interview celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, director Kerry Conran's brother Kevin (who served as production and costume designer on Sky Captain) talks about that film and the brothers' attempt to bring Barsoom to the big screen and how it might have changed the landscape of filmmaking. Among the pertinent highlights:
On why the film ultimately wasn't made: "We worked on that for almost a year. Paramount gave us a fair chunk of money to hire a bunch of guys and put some test footage together," Kevin says. "We were actually all prepared to fly to Australia for it and scout locations. We were going to shoot some of the live-action stuff down there. It was right around that time that [CEO] Sherry Lansing left Paramount, she had been our champion. The new regime, as is often the case, just scuttled everything that was in the mix. We were tabled for a while and didn't know our fate. It left us and of course ended up going to Disney, who made the film."
On how it could have trumped Avatar and possibly influenced a new style of movie making: "I tell my friends, had we been able to finish John Carter and get it released, it would've changed Hollywood history in a really profound way. Avatar came out a year or two after we would've been released, and it's a similar story - Earth warrior goes to alien world, falls in love and leads an uprising. We had things in our version of John Carter that are actually in Avatar, the flying mountains and four-winged lizard creatures. All this kind of stuff, we had in our early prep work.
"It's weird. If we'd come out a year-and-a-half ahead of Avatar, they would've had to scramble and change some things. We were close, we were on the way to Australia and had spent three-and-a-half million bucks doing tests and hiring people. We thought we were going to do it."
For more hit http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/feature/a598519/sky-captain-and-the-world-of-tomorrow-10-years-on-a-ground-breaking-blockbuster.html?rss#~oR4FbPJnkebUho and if you want to sample what could have been-or refresh your memory-here is the test reel for Conran's version.