Carter of Mars director Andrew Stanton and screenwriter Mark Andrews came to Tarzana California to visit the Edgar Rice Burroughs archives at the ERB, Inc offices (and yes, Tarzana is in fact named after Tarzan). While there they talked with Burroughs estate reps about how excited they are for the project – which they’re conceiving as a trilogy. Happy news, Pixar is looking well into the future with this property, and plan to revisit Barsoom (what the natives call Mars) again and again.

I’m psyched for this film as well – John Carter of Mars is my favorite of all the Edgar Rice Burroughs creations, and the strange mythology of Barsoom and its naked hot women and giant multi-armed green barbarian monsters has fueled my imagination for decades. The films would be live action with animated elements – most likely the Martian backgrounds and the beasts, but hopefully not the babes – and that could mean that 2012, an estimated year for the release of this movie, could be a historic one for Pixar. That might be the year when the animation studio releases two films that use or are live action; Brad Bird’s mysterious live action project – rumored to be called 1906 and to be about the great San Francisco earthquake of that year – is tentatively penciled in for 2012.

It’s nice to see that Pixar is so behind this film. At this point they have the muscle to make this a trilogy even if audiences don’t eat up the first film – and God knows there’s no guarantees when it comes to a film about a Civil War soldier who gets teleported to Mars. But if anyone can make John Carter a household name, it’s Noah Wylie. And Pixar.

UPDATE: Thanks to Russ for reminding me that Pixar is going to break the live action barrier with Wall-E next year, which will have a live Fred Willard. It’s a minor part of the film, but it will be the lead-in to what might be the studio’s next phase.