In Disney’s new release, John Carter, the title character’s nephew (Edgar Rice “Ned” Burroughs) is summoned to Carter's home in New York City from William & Mary where he is attending school. Is it THE College of William & Mary? Disney officials confirm it is. The back story in the movie is that the title character’s family is from Virginia.
The movie, starring Taylor Kitsch as John Carter and Daryl Sabara as Ned, is an action-adventure film set on the planet Barsoom (Mars). It is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain, Carter, who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict amongst the inhabitants of the planet. The movie opens nationwide this weekend.
This kind of pop-culture reference isn’t unusual for the College. William & Mary has been referenced on game shows, in TV series, in novels and in major motion pictures on several occasions. In the 1972 film "1776" Thomas Jefferson replies to John Adams about a grammatical issue. Adams points out he went to Harvard and Jefferson replies "Well, I attended William & Mary" and more recently, in the movie "Nims Island" Jodie Foster wore a W&M T-shirt in one of the scenes.
Screenwriter and author Randall Wallace, author of “Braveheart,” wrote a novel called "Love and Honor" whose main character went to William & Mary and one of the books in the popular "American Girl" series, starring a young woman named Felicity, is based in Williamsburg in 1774. Felicity wants to go to college at William & Mary.
On TV, the lead character for Dirty, Sexy, Money – a show that had a brief run on ABC -- was a graduate of William & Mary Law School. The show approached the College and a mock diploma actually appeared on the set. Also, in the last season of NBC's West Wing, the Alan Alda character discusses with staff employment options following his loss in the presidential election. One of the options offered is a visiting professorship at William & Mary.
So, read a good book, turn on the TV or watch a movie – you never know where the College of William & Mary will turn up.