What triggered this question was MCR coming on and saying maybe Taylor Kitsch’s John Carter should win a People’s Choice Award for “Whiniest Super Hero” . . . we’ve all been there, done that, as far as the argument about Andrew Stanton’s flawed John Carter in search of redemption, and Edgar Rice Burroughs “Galahad” like knight in search of a worthy cause.  So I don’t want to revisit that.

But whether you regard Stanton’s John Carter as “whiny” (negative)  or “brooding” (positive) …. the fact is, he evolves over the course of the movie and by the end it’s pretty hard to argue that there’s very much daylight between Stanton’s John Carter and Burroughs’ John Carter.  (I can think of one possible counter to that assertion — but only one — and I’m curious if anyone comes up with it.)

But let’s reverse engineer this and work backwards.  Surely the John Carter who goes into the tomb and tells Ned to find a cause, write a book, is pretty much the John Carter from the books.

What about the John Carter searching for a way back to Barsoom?

Going back farther — the John Carter who heaved the medallion off the balcony?

The John Carter who asked Dejah to marry him?

The John Carter who flew to Dejah’s rescue at the wedding of Sab Than?

(Still with me — no whiny Carter yet, right?)

The John Carter who fought the white apes and rallied the Tharks?

Okay . . . I’ll stop.  But the question is open — does John Carter of the movie become the character of the books?  And if so, when does that transition finally become complete?