James Cameron Planning an Avatar Overload

By  · Published on August 9th, 2010

James Cameron has never been the kind of director to jump directly back on the bandwagon. After The Terminator in 1984, he went into outer space with Aliens (1986), then under water in The Abyss (1989) before coming back to make Terminator 2 in 1991. And after he hit big with Titanic, he refused to give the world the sequel it has always needed, leaving that task to The Asylum. So it’s a bit of a surprise to see Cameron talking loosely about immersing himself in the world of Avatar so soon ‐ to the tune of the long-gestating novelization and not one, but two sequels. Then again, none of his previous films earned $2.73 billion at the box office.

All of this talk comes from several interviews that Cameron has conducted in the lead up to the theatrical re-release of Avatar scheduled for August 27th. More on that after the jump.

“I never had a chance to get the novel done while we were making the movie,” the director explained to MTV News. “And I always intended to. I didn’t want to do a cheesy novelization where some hack comes in and makes shit up. I wanted to do something that was kind of a legitimate novel that was inside the characters’ heads. Ideally that becomes a bible for any other writers that want to come along and riff off with other Avatar-based stories. I don’t mind opening up the universe; I just don’t want that to happen until I’ve got more meat on the bones.”

On the topic of sequels, Cameron said that he’s waiting for the deals to be done on Avatar 2 before he begins writing the next piece of the saga. “I have an overall narrative arc for 2 and 3,” he explained to Market Saw. “And there are some modifications to that based on my experiences in the last few months from having gone down to the Amazon and actually hung out with various indigenous groups who are actually living this type of story for real…but it’s not changing the overall pattern. I haven’t gotten the script done yet; that’s going to be a ways out.”

If logic is applied to the situation, lets assume that Fox is interested in seeing another Avatar film (they are.) So then it’s also safe to assume that they are actively courting Cameron for another film, which could mean that a deal will be in the works soon. Theoretically, if the second and third movies were written and shot back-to-back, we could be looking at Avatar sequels in the winter months of 2013 and 2014. Perhaps even 2012 and 2013. That is, of course, if Fox can convince Cameron to go against his own history and jump directly back into a franchise. And now that The Asylum has taken care of Titanic 2, what else does he have left? I mean, really…

Cameron also talked at length about the new footage that will be included in the August 27 re-release of Avatar. A whole nine minutes worth: “It’s all CG. None of it is kinda boring shots of people sitting around in offices at the base, drinking coffee. It’s all out in the rainforest, some of it is at night. There is a big hunt sequence that’s got a lot of flying, a lot of banshee stuff, riding direhorses, very high-energy, high-impact action. There’s a very powerful emotional scene towards the end that has been added back.

“There’s some stuff where the Na’vi sort of counterattack after the bulldozers destroy the willowblade, that’s a night attack scene. And the aftermath of that, how the humans react to that and the steps leading to the war. There’s some stuff with Grace in the school in the jungle, there’s a creature called a stingbat which is brought back in [that one was in the video game] as well as the sternbeast, which is the animal that they hunt. We see hundreds of those…There are some little bits that have been put back into the end battle. Little action beats, and a little bit added to the love scene, and some other night stuff. It’s all top-quality stuff, it’s all on par with the rest of the film.”

Related Topics: ,

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)