Director Andrew Stanton talks with the magazine and reveals that the creature you are looking at is one of the White Apes, present in the original novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, but not a particularly important element of the story. But considering how often they are mentioned, Stanton wanted them to be part of the movie and something that would be a bit of a last act reveal. "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," he explained. "Then Michael Kutsche — who did a lot of the designs on 'Alice in Wonderland' – came up with this design on his own, for just their scale. He made them nocturnal, almost like moles — they stopped using their eyes, and just had a heightened sense of smell. We just love that. We needed a scene where Carter was going have to get out of his execution sentence in order to move the story forward, and we thought what better than having to go up against this formidable creature?"
So in short, Stanton wanted the audience to wonder about this creature before it made an appearance, but then decided, what the hell, we'll just show it to you now. Okay, then. And as he continues to explain, this scene is from the third act of the movie. "I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but basically he needs an army to solve his big problem in the third act, and the only army he knows was his previous captors. When he goes back, the game has changed, and he gets incarcerated. This is what he has to get out of. He has to get out of jail and not get killed by these apes in order to get his bigger problem solved," he says.
So yeah, our early look at the movie is from a sequence near the end of the movie. We understand trying to sell the sizzle but we hope they don't give away the meat before the movie even comes out. "John Carter" will dazzle your eyeballs on March 9th.