As you know, John Carter went through a set of extensive reshoots. One of the big changes to the film involved the movie’s opening. When I saw this alternate opening on the Blu-ray I was actually kind of disappointed that it wasn’t used. The scene opens with Lynn Collins as Princess Dejah Thoris giving a lecture on the current events of the Barsoomian wars. I believe it to be a much better beginning to the movie, and a much better introduction to the geography of Mars and the all consuming war on the red planet.
Watch the original opening on EW:
On the disc’s commentary options, director Andrew Stanton explains that the scene was scrapped mostly due to the location they used — which appeared much bigger in person but looked too small for our first introduction to this new society. Good point, but couldn’t much of this been fixed with computer created scene extensions? Stanton’s explanation on the commentary track doesn’t seem to be the whole story.
The New Yorker wrote about the Pixar Braintrust’s reaction to the sequence, stating “[T]hey were confused by the film’s beginning, in which Princess Dejah delivered a lecture about the state of the Barsoomian wars, and they found her arch and stony.”
I have also heard that the character of Dejah originally came off as too masculine and lecturing in the original cut of the film. The new opening that you see in the theatrical version has Dejah practicing her lines, a little less confident, trying to get it right. I believe this is one of the many changes they made to try to make her character more likable to audiences.