James Cameron Talks Avatar’s Future

James Cameron's Avatar

by James White |
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James Cameron is, as usual, a very busy man. Not only has he been overseeing new versions of Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Titanic for the home entertainment market, he's also been cooking up a continuation of the Terminator universe and, oh yes, working away with a huge team on his planned four Avatar sequels. Now, in a sprawling interview with Vanity Fair, Cameron says that the future of the films might not be quite as concrete as we all think.

While we can imagine studio executives (who have sunk considerable amounts into the development of the new movies) blanching at the idea of a box office flop derailing the franchise, Cameron appears to be taking more of a pragmatic approach, future-proofing each film in turn so they can stand alone whilst also serving a bigger narrative. "Let’s face it, if Avatar 2 and 3 don’t make enough money, there’s not going to be a 4 and 5," he says. "They’re fully encapsulated stories in and of themselves. It builds across the five films to a greater kind of meta narrative, but they’re fully formed films in their own right, unlike, say, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, where you really just had to sort of go, “Oh, shit, all right, well I guess I better come back next year.” Even though that all worked and everybody did."

We're certain he intends them all to come out – especially given the amount of effort going into the new sequels. "It was highly optimistic that we could start quickly until scripts are written. If there’s no scripts, there’s nothing, right? The scripts took four years. You can call that a delay, but it’s not really a delay because from the time we pushed the button to really go make the movies until now, we’re clicking along perfectly. We’re doing very well because of all the time that we had to develop the system and the pipeline and all that. We weren’t wasting time, we were putting it into tech development and design. So when all the scripts were approved, everything was designed. Every character, every creature, every setting. In a funny way it was to the benefit of the film because the design team had more time to work... Most of the actors, the key principals, have all read all four scripts, so they know exactly what their character arcs are, they know where they’re going, they know how to modulate their arc now across the first two films. We all know where we’re supposed to be dramatically in the saga, and that’s great."

Avatar 2 is due to hit in 2020. After that... We'll see, but it's never smart to count out James Cameron. For more from the director, head to Vanity Fair's site.

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