James Cameron Talks The Avatar Sequels

'It's a family saga like The Godfather....'

Work is proceeding apace on the Avatar sequels, especially now that James Cameron has hired a team of writers to work with him on the second, third and fourth trips to Pandora. He’s just opened up to the Associated Press (spotted via The Hollywood Reporter) about what we can all expect. There’s nothing particularly revelatory here, but Cameron seems enthused for the future, at least.

"At first I thought I was going to take it onto other worlds as well, in the same solar system, but it turned out not to be necessary," the director told the Associated Press. "I mean, the Pandora that we have imagined will be a fantasyland that is going to occupy people for decades to come, the way I see it."

But if you thought it was all going to be diving into the moon’s oceans, it appears Cameron has other ideas. Perhaps he’s sick of sea missions after all that diving? "There's a fair bit of underwater stuff. It's been inaccurately said that the second film takes place underwater. That's not true. There are underwater scenes and surface-water scenes having to do with indigenous ocean cultures that are distributed across the three films."

As for the story of the new films, especially given that the first Avatar was criticised for its less-than-revelatory plot, "It’s really the story of Jake Sully’s family, the family that he creates on Pandora. His extended family. So think of it as a family saga like The Godfather." Careful with the comparisons there, chief.

One final bit of Avatar news: like the original film, the sequels will be shot in New Zealand thanks to a new tax deal from the country, and Cameron plans to relocate his family to work on at least the production of the new films there. He and Peter Jackson will be divvying up the filmmaking talent to make sure they both have enough crew to work on their various projects. The Avatar sequels are now expected for late 2016, 2017 and 2018.