It’s been over a decade since James Cameron did anything but work on the sequels to Avatar and visit the Titanic wreck site. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. He got into a pissing contest with a fellow deep sea diver about who’d gone deeper into the ocean (and co-wrote Alita: Battle Angel, but more on that in a moment).
With the release of Avatar: The Way of Water mere months away, Cameron has found himself at an impasse.
“The Avatar films themselves are kind of all-consuming,” Cameron told Empire in a new interview. “I’ve got some other things I’m developing as well that are exciting.”
This is the first time since the 2009 release of Avatar that Cameron has shown any indication that he’s interested in filmmaking beyond the four planned Avatar sequels.
In fact, at one point in 2012 when he was asked by the New York Times if he was looking at any other scripts, Cameron infamously said: “I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the Avatar business. Period. That’s it. I’m making Avatar 2, Avatar 3, maybe Avatar 4, and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them.”
Indeed, Cameron was so consumed by these sequels — he eventually announced Avatar 5, as well — that he had to hand directing duties of Alita: Battle Angel over to Robert Rodriguez, as the Avatar sequels left no room for him to direct anything else. Cameron did stay on board as executive producer and co-writer, though.
Of the Avatar sequels, Cameron explained: “I think eventually over time – I don’t know if that’s after three or after four – I’ll want to pass the baton to a director that I trust to take over, so I can go do some other stuff that I’m also interested in. Or maybe not. I don’t know.”
While Cameron may be at a point where he’s tossing up whether or not to dedicate the bulk of his career solely to the Avatar franchise, he does remain immensely proud of the world he’s created.
“Everything I need to say about family, about sustainability, about climate, about the natural world, the themes that are important to me in real life and in my cinematic life, I can say on this canvas,” Cameron said, adding: “I got more excited as I went along.”
Currently, Avatar 2 — aka Avatar: The Way of Water — is set for release this December, after being pushed back and delayed many times over the 13 years since the first film was released. Avatar 3 was filmed simultaneously with Avatar: The Way of Water, but filming has yet to begin on Avatar 4 and 5.
“Movie four is a corker,” Cameron said. “It’s a motherf**ker. I actually hope I get to make it. But it depends on market forces. Three is in the can so it’s coming out regardless. I really hope that we get to make four and five because it’s one big story, ultimately.”
Avatar: The Way Of Water is set over a decade after the events of the first film (an incidence of art imitating life, one could say). It will tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure. It will star Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement and Kate Winslet.
Avatar: The Way of Water will make a splash in Australian cinemas on December 15, 2022.
Want more Avatar? Read all our content here, and check out the stories below:
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- The 10 Highest Grossing Films of All Time, and Where to Watch Them in Australia