John Carter Squares Off Against A Giant White Ape In New Image

Despite some looks at the concept art and that gorgeous teaser trailer, we have still only seen the smallest glimpses of what director Andrew Stanton's John Carter (formerly John Carter of Mars) has in store for us. What we have seen looks amazing, but there are still many fantastic elements of Mars -- excuse me, Barsoom -- yet to be glimpsed. Now EW has provided a look at one of the most iconic creatures of writer Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter books -- the ferocious White Apes. As you can see in the picture below, they're going to present a bit of a challenge.

First introduced in Burroughs' A Princess of Mars, the White Apes are described as semi-intelligent and, like many of Barsoom's creatures, sporting an extra set of limbs. While they're a frequent menace for Carter in the books, Stanton told EW that in the movie they decided to hold the Apes back for a later, more dramatic appearance...and to give them a bit of a size makeover.

[The apes] were always cool, just from a visceral standpoint, [but] they don’t really have a narrative function in the first book. So what we did is we made the White Apes a formidable creature that you kind of hear about throughout the movie, but you never really witness. There’s a subtle sense of anticipation for what these things might be like.

Note the chain in the picture above. Stanton explains that it's designed to cancel out the one serious advantage Carter has over Barsoom's residents: in the lower gravity, he can leap like Superman, as displayed in the trailer. So he may have a little bit of maneuvering room during his fight against the White Ape, but leaping to retreat won't be an option.

Based on Burroughs' books, John Carter is set to open on March 9th, 2012. It's Pixar director Andrew Stanton's first live-action feature film, working from a script by Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon. You can find out more about it in our Blend Film Database.