Director Joe Pearson has big plans for "WOTWG"
For sceptical Malaysians who think that "War of the Worlds Goliath" (WOTWG) is a one-off thing for local production house, Tripod Entertainment, be prepared to be stunned for what you are about to find out.
In a one-on-one interview with "WOTWG" director, Joe Pearson, we find out that there is a much bigger picture here than just producing a feature animation for the big screen. A true-blue fan of Science Fiction, Pearson states that he is more interested in creating worlds rather than just telling a story.
"It's a big world out there for "WOTWG". It's not only the characters' personal stories that can be expanded but for a lot of countries as well that we would want to know about in this alternate reality."
"I like to build my own worlds, rather than just being a director and executing one movie." A very apt statement for a director of a stereoscopic 3D feature, if you compare 2D story-telling to a 3D grasp of creating worlds.
Each character's story has the potential to be extended beyond theatre screens
Already, there is an issue of Heavy Metal magazine (an international adult illustrated magazine) that has a collection of stories from the expanded world of "WOTWG", featuring a majority of Malaysian writers and illustrators. One of the stories to look out for is "War of the Worlds Goliath: St Petersburg".
Initially planned to be the original opening sequence for "WOTWG", currently showing in silver screens nationwide, the scene had to be scrapped due to budget constraints and the American producers have not let the Malaysian team forget about that painful decision easily.
According to Malaysian producer Leon Tan, it had to be done.
"The American producers were so excited over that scene, but we just had to say 'no'. Not because we don't love that scene. It would have been so grand! But there was just not enough room in the budget," said Tan.
Producer Leon Tan had to beat down the American producers on the opening due to budget constraints.
The scene would have started in St Petersburg Russia, focusing on a battalion of Cossack soldiers getting ready for battle. It would have been a majestic scene too, with 300 horsemen charging towards the Martian tripods fiercely while soft snow was falling all around them on the winter grounds.
While the charge towards the enemy is courageous, fuelled with the sentiment of not going down easily without a fight, the battalion gets wiped out within seconds save for a colonel pinned down to the ground, narrowly missed by a tripod leg. This would have served for an excellent backstory for the man, who would become a commander 15 years later in the same fight against the Martians in "WOTWG".
Pearson added that although it was a pity that it would not showcased in the silver screen version of "WOTWG", it doesn't mean that the animation sequence would be forgotten anytime soon.
So there is a sequel in the works then?
"The idea is there. But it all boils down to the audiences' response for the film. If the demand is there, I am planning to include the sequence in the follow-up film as a flashback," Pearson promised.
What could have been the big opening to "WOTWG".
But for now, it would only exist within the pages of a magazine. Although for those interested to be part of the audience for this extended universe, an app is currently being developed to bring the illustrations to the public, estimated to be launched in early next year. All you need to do is to like the "WOTWG" Facebook fanpage to access the app.
Judging by the plans laid out, "WOTWG" has indeed come a long way for Pearson. Prior to meeting Tan, the story concept had been shelved up at home for eight years. But not to the point where it did not meet the light of day.
Pearson had pitched the story to Fox Network as a potential series but according to the animator/director, they "didn't get it".
"Fox thought the story was too old-fashioned for kids, with it being set in World War l. But I knew it was an idea that shouldn't be toned down. At that time, animations with a similar track of mind such as "Titan A.E." and "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" were released but didn't do well in the box office, mainly because they didn't go all out with the story, choosing to stay in the middle."
Looking beyond a bigger world for "WOTWG".
Pearson may have been discouraged at that point, but he still stuck to his guns on how the story should flow, resulting in what we see in cinemas today.
Cinema Online, 03 December 2012