If the name Kerry Conran doesn’t sound familiar, that’s because he’s only made one movie: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. For a directorial debut, though, talk about a massive undertaking. The film is still largely considered a failure but its innovative use of green screen and digital effects foreshadowed what would become the standard in filmmaking in the years that followed.

One of those films is the upcoming John Carter, Andrew Stanton’s hugely expensive and highly anticipated adaptation of the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Before Stanton took the helm, though, John Carter of Mars was a property many, many producers and directors tried to tackle. We’ve all heard about Jon Favreau and Robert Rodriguez but one name we forget was Conran, a natural choice thanks to his digital work, who was attached to the film around the time of Sky Captain.

His attachment was probably in large part to an extensive demo reel used pitch his vision. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s online. Watch it after the jump.

The video is up on the Looking Glass Films website and seems to first be uncovered by John Carter fan page Barsoomia.org. We got a tip from @DannyTRS.

Click on the image below to head to the video, which is in Quicktime and not embeddable. It blends concept art, digital characters, and live action components into a very effective, 5+ minute presentation.

Being as we’ve been bombarded with Stanton’s version of the film for so long now, I see a lot of what eventually ended up in his version in Conran’s work. The Martians are actually pretty impressive even in a very unfinished state and the scope of the film is certainly there. Granted, it looks like a 2004 version and we’re about to get a 2012 version but it’s incredibly cool to see what might have been.

What do you think of this long forgotten potential version of John Carter?

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