John Carter of Mars Moving Forward

* * Update 9:44am * *:

According to an official Disney spokesperson, any rumor of the potential early demise of the ‘Narnia’ franchise is “entirely false”. No further detail about the rest of the story’s information about ‘Carter’ was stated.

Despite the success of the first “Narnia” film and the “Harry Potter” series, the recent failures in the costly to produce family fantasy epic genre have apparently made the Mouse House quite nervous about their upcoming ‘Narnia’ sequel “Prince Caspian”.

Certainly of the four major tentpole films opening in May (Iron Man, Speed Racer, Caspian, Indiana Jones), the Narnia film is the least buzzed about project. The hefty price tag for it, not to mention the cost of any ensuing sequels, means that the studio is rumored to have begun thinking of ending the series after the third film “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” which is currently in pre-production.

According to Jim Hill Media, in order to fill those potential holes in its schedule, the studio is moving forward quickly on its plans to do a trilogy of films based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” books.

Mark Andrews has allegedly already completed a first pass on a screenplay for the first film in the proposed “Mars” series and both Pixar and Disney execs have reportedly responded very enthusiastically to Andrews’ script.

The first film was already on the books for a 2012 release, but if the report is accurate (and JHM is usually infallible) then we might see it a year or two earlier depending upon how Narnia goes. Personally I want to see “The Silver Chair” made I have to say.