Tarzan and Jewels of Opar

The very first draft of Legend of Tarzan was based on . . . . .

ERBDOM, Legend of Tarzan (Movie), Tarzan and Hollywood

According to IMDB’s trivia for Legend of Tarzan, the following is a true fact:

The very first draft of the film was loosely based on two original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels – ‘The Return of Tarzan’ and ‘Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar’. But subsequent drafts evolved from that point to be a different take.

Can anyone point me  to a source for this?

TheReturnOfTarzan-C1The Return of Tarzan begins within weeks of where Tarzan of the Apes ends, with Tarzan on an ocean liner, then there are scenes in Paris, where Tarzan drinks his absinthe and smokes a few cigarettes and gets into a little trouble with the police that D’Arnot helps him clean up with the police, then he gets into trouble with Olga de Coude’s husband, refuses to defend himself in a duel, takes a bullet or two, earns the Count’s admiration and a is given an appointment as an intelligence operative in North Africa (Algeria, I think?) , and from there ends up on another ocean liner with Hazel Strong before ending up back in the jungle with Jane, La, etc. . .

Doesn’t sound too much like this one, although it does start from civilization.

Tarzan Opar Dust Jacket

Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar begins with Tarzan living on his vast African estate where Werper, an nefarious Belgian, is in guest.  Werper is plotting against Tarzan, who receives news that his business has failed and he needs to go make a withdrawal from the treasure vaults of Opar in order to set things rights.  Werper learns Tarzan’s intentions and plans mischief.

Well, Werper is a Belgian, like Rom.

Otherwise I’m not feeling a lot of connection.

Anyway — if anyone knows more about where this trivia comes from , let me know. Meanwhile I’ll do some additional research and see if I can figure it out.


  • Tarzan is not in London in “Return” (as I recall) and at the beginning of “Beasts” “Tarzan had recently brought his wife and infant son to London to escape the discomforts and dangers of the rainy season upon their vast estate in Uziri”; “Son” provides a London context at the beginning from which Jack runs away; “Jewels” begins with Tarzan in Africa. So the London life that we think occurs at the beginning of the film doesn’t come directly from these early books, though it is implied. Perhaps there are some later books that give a snippet that I haven’t remembered.

    • I agree it’s not there in “Return” — he never sets foot in England, although he’s in Paris and on an ocean liner. I think the strongest case is in Son of Tarzan. At the outset, they are living in London and Jack is big enough and strong enough to overpower his tutor and tie up up — at least ten or twelve. That means that between Beasts and Son of Tarzan something close to 8-10 years has elapsed, during which time they appear to have been living in London, raising Jack, and not telling him about Tarzan’s backstory. — very similar to the setup for this movie, minus Jack.

      As an aside, Stan — I was looking Philip Jose Farmer’s timeline for the life of Tarzan from Tarzan Alive — http://www.erbzine.com/mag15/1501.html

      …. It seems all wrong for me as to when Son of Tarzan takes place. He has Tarzan being born in 1888, marry Jane in 1910, then Jack is born in 1912 ….. and then son of Tarzan happens in 1913 and 1914. I can’t be the first person to see this — surely it’s been discussed and I just missed it. But clearly from context, if Jack was born in 1912, then Son of Tarzan is happening around 1922 …. but of course that throws off a lot of the other stories, doesn’t it? I think the solution is probably to treat it like a TV series where there are jumps in time that don’t exactly add up, but let infants suddenly become a lot older. I guess I”ve probably answered my own question.

      But Farmer’ chronology aside, the actual context of the stories implies that they lived in London for quite awhile between Beasts and Son of Tarzan, no?

      • Agreed that it must be in a gap that ERB doesn’t write. The time gap that you note has been discussed at length in previous decades. The absence of a child, of course, does make it simpler for the screen version and avoids that whole discrepancy.

  • IMDb trivia section can be edited by anybody and unlike Wikipedia you don’t need to cite sources. Like, right now, there’s another trivia entry that says this movie is based on the Dark Horse comics.

    • I hear ya . . . . in the case of Dark Horse — Dark Horse Entertainment is the actual production company of record and Mike Richardson of Dark Horse is one of the producers. So I can see where that came from . . . . . but I don’t think it’s actually based on any Dark Horse Comics stories …… I haven’t been able to find any reference to Return of Tarzan and Jewels of Opar anywhere other than IMDB, but the script started with John August in 2003 and kept getting redone (“page one rewrites”) for about ten years so . . . who knows. I’m hoping it will turn out that there is some basis to it, but it’s just a footnote since that original script is not really in play.

Leave a Reply