Willem Dafoe, Stilt Walkers, and the Little Green Men of Mars – Special Effects of “John Carter”

Disney’s “John Carter” had its Red Carpet World Premiere last week.  To prepare for the release of the film you’ve read Burroughs’ “Princess of Mars”, you’ve watched all the trailers online, and now you just need to wait for March 9th when the film comes to your local theater.  Now your mind starts to wander, and you think, “just how did they create all those Martians?”  Never fear, watch the video below for a glimpse at the making of the film, and then continue on for more photos and details on Willem Dafoe and the stilt walkers of Mars.  For more news, press releases, images, trailers, cast Q&A, etc. from “John Carter” click here.

Behind The Scenes: Willem Dafoe and Director Andrew Stanton Ph: Frank Connor ©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

The images below illustrate the visual effects progression that transformed Willem Dafoe on stilts into Tars Tarkas, the 9 foot Martian Thark.

First, the director films Willem Dafoe as he gives a full performance on stilts.

L to R: Tar Tarkas (Willem Dafoe), John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) Visual Effects Progression "Before" Shot ©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

 

Next, animators create the Tharks on the computer…

L to R: Tar Tarkas (Willem Dafoe), John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) Visual Effects Progression "Intermediate" Shot ©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

 

Final result, a horde of 9 foot tall, 4 armed, Tharks.

L to R: Tar Tarkas (Willem Dafoe), John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) Visual Effects Progression "Final" Shot ©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

 

An equal amount of animation went into the creation of the cities, locations, and landscapes of Mars.  Check out the visual effects progression of an Airship flying over the Martian city of Helium.

©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

 

Finally, while on Mars, John Carter gets a special protector – Woola, another digitally rendered character.  The sequence of images below show the creation of Woola on the surface of Mars.

©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

 

I can’t wait to see “John Carter” on the big screen.  However, I have to say that all these scenes and stills of “Mars” really makes me want to go visit Monument Valley, Utah.  Hmmmm, I’m sensing an “Adventures by Daddy” trip in the future.  For more adventure movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.