I have always considered that Elon Musk - founder of Space X - has never given up on his original objective of reaching Mars. That was what drew him into the space business in the first place - when he discovered that NASA couldn't deliver his Mars Greenhouse project to the surface of the Red Planet. It was then he decided to create a business dedicated to developing cheap access to space.
Perhaps over the last few years discretion has led him to limit his pronouncements on Mars (he might not have wished to highlight NASA's deficiencies with aggressive Mars advocacy), but now we see a shift on the back of a series of commercial and launch successes. Take a look at this article for instance -
As the article says "Musk thinks that humans can set foot on the red planet within the next 10 to 20 years."
So, let's be clear - the fast track to Mars is not some idle speculation. This guy knows what he's talking about - we can get there within a couple of decades if we are serious about the project.
We now can see where the Falcon 9 Heavy and the Dragon fit into the grand strategy. The Falcon 9 Heavy can lift significant tonnage into orbit. In orbit, a transit vehicle to Mars can be assembled and the Dragon could be the basis for a lander craft.