John Carter of Mars - art by Frank Frazetta

John Carter of Mars should be HBO’s next Game of Thrones

Books, Columns, Featured, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Television, Top story
John Carter of Mars - art by Frank Frazetta
John Carter of Mars – art by Frank Frazetta

The Internets have been in an uproar lately over the impending, albeit slow-motion, conclusion of HBO’s Game of Thrones television series, which will end after only seven Season 7 episodes in 2017 and six Season 8 episodes in 2018.

Despite additional rumors of a potential spin-off series, fans are disappointed to have the finale of GOT in sight. To be certain, it’s a bummer on the same scale as being decapitated – but wait, hold the door!

There is another literary fantasy series, with an equally amazing monarchical atmosphere of politics, drama, action and incredible beasts – with stories that are loved by thousands, including George R. R. Martin himself, and that undoubtedly inspired the GOT author to become a writer. I’m talking about, of course, John Carter of Mars!

Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) as Dejah Thoris?
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen)
as Dejah Thoris? We should be so lucky. (GQ)

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoomian series would be the perfect replacement for Game of Thrones. Despite the unjustly maligned 2012 film, John Carter (of Mars, dammit), the serialized Martian stories were made for the type of adult adaptation that HBO specializes in, and they would undoubtedly appeal to the GOT audience that will be soon be suffering from sword-and-sorcery withdrawals.

Assuming that several actors from the GOT cast will be looking for work, let me also suggest Kit Harington (Jon Snow) for the role of John Carter; Rory McCann (The Hound) as Carter’s loyal Thark friend, Tars Tarkas; Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) as Tars’ daughter, Sola; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) as Carter’s Martian military comrade, Kantos Kan; and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) as the incomparable Dejah Thoris.

By now I think most people realize that the problems surrounding the Disney adaptation of the original space-fantasy character were the result of a FUBAR marketing strategy (and/or lack thereof) and had nothing to do with what is actually a very good film (really, check it out!).

The John Carter of Mars movie rights were reclaimed by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate almost two years ago and it is ripe for the picking. Seems like space-fantasy serendipity to me, so get on it HBO and put Burroughs’ Martian stories back on the map – you’ll be glad you did.

ADDITIONAL READING: – George R. R. Martin essay on Mars, Burroughs and John Carter

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