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Alternate Dimension Versions of Movies

Hollywood has a storied history of projects that go through multiple creative teams.  A script will bounce around town, be attached to one director, but then wind up being made by someone different.  Or sometimes, a film will go through many studios,  producers, directors, and take decades to finally be realized.

Even films that stick with the same people change over time. A director thinks that the project should be one way, but through the process of revision and changing times, winds up with a wildly different film when it is finally made.

Take for example John Carter of Mars.

All the way back in the thirties, animator Bob Clampett pitched the idea of making a feature length animated adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars.  This film would have predated Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and it was intended as a rollicking adventure film.  There was even a test reel produced by Clampett, which he showcased at lectures later on in his life:


This would have been a very ambitious project, and would have changed the face of feature animation.  But it never happened.

Throughout the years, other attempts were discussed to adapt John Carter’s adventures, with everyone from John McTiernan to Kerry Conran to Robert Rodriguez to Jon Favreau attached to direct.  The final film we got is much better than it’s reputation, but for many reasons, it failed miserably as a box office performer.  But the history of its production, dating all the way back to the thirties, makes for an interesting chronicle of Hollywood’s inner workings, and what could have been.

There are lots of examples of this kind of thing.  What would George Lucas’s Apocalypse Now look like?  Or what would Arthur Penn’s The Train been like if he had not been fired and replaced by John Frankenheimer? What would Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man be like in comparison to Peyton Reed’s final film? If Lord of the Rings was produced in the sixties, with either a Beatles soundtrack, or in the seventies with a Led Zeppelin soundtrack, would the films be lauded as of their time masterpieces?

Some questions to consider:

  1. What “what if?” version of a film would you be curious to see?
  2. What cases do you the final product is much better than the potential, alternate versions?

Expand upon this as much as you like.