John Carter releases the first image of its Martian beast, the White Ape!

Here's your first look at the great white ape from Andrew Stanton's movie adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars book series. Take a closer look at our leather-clad hero Taylor Kitsch as he fights the Martian beast!

Entertainment Weekly has the first look at the Martian Ape Vs. Earth Man showdown. The story follows a Civil War vet (Kitsch) who's transplanted to Mars and gets caught up in the political rumblings between the humanoid creatures and the giant green Tharks. And it's during his stay on Mars that he's forced to fight the White Ape. Stanon shared a few details about the beast with EW:

No, they're sort of an oversized gorilla in the books, and they're kind of ubiquitous. They're littered everywhere through at least the first several novels. They 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. Then Michael Kutsche - who did a lot of the designs on [the Johnny Depp movie] 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?

John Carter will open in theaters on March 9th, 2012.