James Cameron: ‘Avatar 2 & 3′ Must ‘Deliver The Goods’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 17th, 2013 at 11:57 pm,

james cameron informationist James Cameron: Avatar 2 & 3 Must Deliver The Goods

Since James Cameron’s first Avatar film was 10 years in the making, and involved the invention of an entire planet and ecosystem, it’s no surprise that he’s taking his time to piece together the upcoming sequels. Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 (titles TBD) will be shot back-to-back, with the first one planned for a release no earlier than 2015, and Cameron has been playing around with the idea of shooting the films at 48fps. Right now though, he’s more concerned with planning and writing the scripts and getting the stories properly nailed down.

Here’s what we know of the story so far. Sigourney Weaver assured us over a year ago that she had seen the story outlines for the next two films and her character, Grace, will definitely be returning. Jon Landau has said that the two films will stand on their own, but that Avatar 2will kick off where the last one ended,” and also killed the circulating rumors that Cameron was planning to shoot three sequels back-to-back, whilst not dismissing the possibility of Avatar 4. Pandora will remain the setting for the story, and Cameron has also intimated that he plans to continue the message of environmentalism and warnings about the current deteriorating state of our own planet.

Cameron provided another update regarding the franchise in a recent interview with Play Goes Strong, in which he says that he’s currently burying himself in the world he created:

“I’m working on Avatar 2 and Avatar 3…  I’m deep into it and I’m living in Pandora right now. There is that start up torque where you feel it’s coming to you. Then you build up momentum. That’s when it gets fun. The characters talk and it’s writing itself. I’m almost there right now. It’s building fast…

It’s a little daunting because sequels are always tricky. You have to be surprising and stay ahead of audience anticipation. At the same time, you have to massage their feet with things that they know and love about the first film. I’ve walked that line in the past, so I’m not too worried about it. At the same time, I definitely have to deliver the goods… As for a release date that will be determined by when I get the script out. No pressure!”

Hopefully he’s got a snorkel and mask with him, because from what we’ve already heard it sounds like a healthy chunk of Avatar 2 will be set underwater, in the oceans of Pandora. Excepting the Battle Angel adaptation and action thriller The Informationist that he will reportedly be directing after finishing the next two Avatar films, Cameron has no other productions on the go and seems to be completely absorbed in his pet project, which he apparently intends to be his biggest cinematic legacy. Certainly it has made the largest impact on our wallets; Avatar remains the highest-grossing film of all time, with a current worldwide gross of almost $2.8 billion.

avatar sequel release date delay James Cameron: Avatar 2 & 3 Must Deliver The Goods

Does Cameron’s obsessive dedication to the Avatar franchise bode well for the future sequels? While the first film was praised by critics for being visually stunning and breaking new ground in technical innovation, many felt that the “Pocahontas-in-space” story was a little too unoriginal, and that the messages about colonization and man’s impact on nature were a little heavy-handed. With that in mind, it sounds particularly promising that Cameron is apparently focusing such a great deal of his energy upon constructing a worthy sequel for the story and building upon one of the most highly-praised aspects of Avatar: the invention of an entire alien ecosystem.

How do you feel about the Avatar 2 details you’ve heard so far? Will the six or seven years between the release of the first film and the second build up too much hype, or fizzle away the fans’ excitement? Got any theories about where the plot might go next? Let us know in the comments.

Release dates for Avatar 2 & Avatar 3 will be announced whenever James Cameron finishes writing the scripts. We’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Source: Play Goes Strong (via Bleeding Cool)

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. I hope they deliver the goods because the first one certainly didn’t.

    One of the most boring movie experiences since Bobby.

    • Here, here!

  2. he better hurry before the whole cast dies of old age.

  3. “Avatar” was “Pocahontas” with blue monkeys as the Native Americans and Stark Industries employees as the future Americans.

    The difference? “Pocahontas” had the right idea of balancing heart and story with visuals, unlike “Avatar” which is simply a giant video game masking it’s dull performances and story.

    That’s how I feel along with many of my close friends as we watched this when it went to DVD.

    • One problem. Pocahontas was a real person.

      I guess Gears of War is a ripoff of Battlefield because Gears’ King Ravens look a lot like helicopters.

      You probably won’t get that reference though since you’re using a whole damn medium like it’s a label.

      • It has nothing to do with being a real person, being fiction or non-fiction. What kind of excuse is that?

        And now you bring in video game comparisons as a defense, when I never even said “Avatar” looks like “Pocahontas”?

        You’re missing the point: visuals are not the issue. In fact, that’s the only thing “Avatar” has to rely on.

  4. They should take the na’vi to earth

    • pokahontas 2 a journey to the new world 😛

  5. It’s James Cameron!!! Director of Terminator 2, Aliens, and Titanic!!! Do not question him!

    • Yeah well he also directed Piranha 2

      • Which he still claims was the best damn movie about flying piranhas ever :)

  6. I love James Cameron. I love how he’s taking his time……. =) I’m rally looking forward too the underwater scope of things…it’s going to be amazing.

  7. James Cameron’s worst film ever, not up for debate.

    • Oops, you left out a portion:
      James Cameron’s worst film ever, and most overrated–Titanic; not up for debate.

  8. It sounds like he hasn’t learn from his storytelling flaws and mistakes from the first Avatar. I don’t think we’ll get anything more than did already in the underwheliming first film. James, you disappoint me. Can’t somebody tell him his script writing sucks and just hire a true screen writer?

    • You do know Cameron wrote Terminator, Aliens, and Terminator 2, right? 3 of the best science fiction movies of all time, right? So in what way does he need a screenwriter? Because he wrote one bad script?

      • Terminator, Terminator 2, and Aliens were action films with some drama so the dialogue, characterization, and plot development were simple and didn’t need much depth in terms of writing (plus, I never even found the writing to be all that good in any of those films with the exception of a few memorable lines). Avatar and Titanic (both weakly written and simplistic) focused A LOT more on drama and since the films were at an epic length it really needed that support. Avatar’s script contained dumb dialogue and heavy predictability.

        • Hipsters make me laugh. Yeah, it’s politically correct and cool to hate on Avatar now, even though most hipsters saw the film 2 or 3 times. There’s a reason why it’s the most seen film in history.

          That reason? The world loved it.

          Was it the Shawshank Redemption? Seven? Pulp Fiction? Platoon?

          No. But it didn’t need to be. Sure it borrowed heavily from Pocahontas and Fern Gully.

          Avatar was loved by audiences the world over, and 242 profession critics gave it a big thumbs up.

          Get over it, and get over yourselves hipsters.

          • I’m not saying that avatar is a bad film but I just wonder: are box office numbers a criteria for quality?

            • “242 profession critics gave it a big thumbs up.”

              • well, going that route, it also depends on how many gave it a thumb down :)

      • James Cameron didn’t write any of those other films by himself, whereas Avatar was written by only him. Probably not a coincidence that the others were much better in the storytelling department.

      • Just a heads up…

        ‘The Terminator’ – written by James Cameron, Gale Hurd, William Wisher, Jr.

        ‘Aliens’ – screenplay by James Cameron based on a story he developed with David Giler and Walter Hill (producers of all the other ‘Alien’ franchise films)

        ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ – written by James Cameron, William Wisher, Jr.

        ‘Avatar’ – written by James Cameron

  9. I think, for Cameron to improve is to show us the ups and downsides of Na’vi’s customs and cultures, a new groundbreaking character giving another insight in the movie’s environmental theme, … and more mecha!

  10. I can’t wait to see Pandora under water. I hope he films it at 60fps.

    Plenty of people loved the first one, so I’m pretty sure that all the hate on internet forums won’t really affect him.

    The sad thing is, if it doesn’t make over 2 billion, people will call it a failure.

    • Not every ‘hater’ hates Avatar (I don’t), but rather we feel it has too many flaws, especially with its simplistic and in your face environmental theme and simplistic and flat characters. If you want to watch a truly great epic fantasy film with a complex and emotionally resonating theme on environmentalism and even mythology, watch Princess Mononoke. This film was gritty, compelling, and exciting with round characters (so there are no traditional villains) and doublesided themes on environmentalism (both the nature’s side and the humans’ side are developed and studied so we can relate to both as the conflict ensure to make a realistic predicament rather than labeling the humans as evil and stupid–which we aren’t BTW). James Cameron doesn’t understand this, and that’s why Avatar never lived up to its best potential.

      • aawww princess mononoke! the way every (animated) film should be… +1 on that:)

      • “(both the nature’s side and the humans’ side are developed and studied so we can relate to both as the conflict ensure to make a realistic predicament rather than labeling the humans as evil and stupid–which we aren’t BTW)”
        News flash- not every human being in avatar was stupid and evil.
        (:D But a larger portion of them were, perfectly reflects real world illustration)

        • Right, and it also didn’t say that all of humanity was like that – just many of the ones on that particular assignment, who were working for the bottom line of a greedy corporation that wanted to take advantage of the resources on the moon.

      • Arrhhh… Screenrant..! why there is no delete button for accidental post of uncompleted reply!

        • One sympathizes.

    • 60 fps wouldn’t help, just my opinion. There would be no sense to go at an even faster film rate when Jackson already got backlash for 48 fps. Most screenings from the hobbit were from normal 24 fps. It would look even more like a video game, which is Not the point of a film.

      • You get the videogame feeling because pretty much all games have superior temporal fidelity over films.

        It’s simply quantum HD. It’s an improvement. You’re stumbling on unbroken ground.

        • You know I saw ‘The Hobbit’ both ways and the extra frames made it look more like video than film. I’m not so sure if that’s good or bad. I guess I need to see more films that way to make a solid judgment. Maybe 60fps would do something more for a film or maybe a property should be selected very carefully for conversion. I think if you wanted to make a story look like a documentary like say ‘Midway’, ‘Hell to Eternity’, or ‘To End All Wars.’ Some story centering around an event that happened like Saipan or POW camps might benefit filmed in HFR if they were done today. It would be an interesting event to see. I would pay for the experience…

      • The HFR didn’t make it look like video or a video game to me. They both have a different look. It looked like a film that was just smoother. Cheap looking video at a higher frame rate still looks cheap (maybe even more so), whereas the colour timing, texture and effects totally set it apart.

        There was still a slight bit of judder that I noticed with 48fps, which 60fps would have eliminated. Additionally, 60fps would be more compatible with current home displays (assuming we can get a proper delivery method).

        The backlash regarding HFR was mostly (not exclusively) from critics and writers. Plenty of the general public loved it, myself included.

  11. I know why he’s making sequels, the money. But really, do we need one? Avatar was just a rip off on the white man eracticating the native Americans. Where does he go from here? What story from history can be rip off next? Who knows? The better question is, who cares?

    • I know why he’s making sequels: to ensure that no other movie will ever out-gross Avatar’s cumulative total. And the sad thing is, even knowing that fact, we are all going to make that happen for him.

    • I care, and considering how huge the first film was, I’d wager a lot of people do. Do you really think its about the money? I’m sure after directing the two highest grossing movies ever and having endless piles of cash, his only incentive for working again is money…righttt. This is a guy who invented new technology to bring his vision to life, sure sounds like he’s all about the quick-buck to me. It couldnt be that he’s actually passionate about his projects, thats just ludicrous!

  12. Has anyone here ever seen an old animated Disney film called Atlantis: The Lost Empire? Well, basically Avatar is a giant playgiarised ripoff of that movie. Everyone says its a copy of Pocahontas, i dont know which came first of the two films, but if you’ve ever seen Atlantis TLE you’ll see all the similarities and realize what i’m talking about. If you havent seen it before you should check it out sometime

    • “Pocahontas” came long before “Avatar”, “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” came 6 years after “Pocahontas”.

      I do see what you mean though, the perspective of “Avatar” falls more into “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”, I agree 100%. It most certainly does come down nearly all aspects of both movies having an influence, hell I even saw some things that instantly reminded me of “The Road to El Dorado”.

      “Avatar” suffers from branching out on a story like that by suffocating it’s heart and soul with visuals.

    • Really ‘Atlantis TLE’, I’ll have to check that out. To be fair I’m not devoid of all hope for a sequel just so long as he stays away from intelligent kelp and the idea that greedy leaders will warp a society to consolidate power. Just some of the Void Universe stuff I’d rather he didn’t rip off. He already ripped Pandora, the planet name from “The Jesus Incident.”

  13. The feeling I got from avatar was that Cameron wanted to make a trippy otherworldly “Fantastic Planet” type film but executed with a photoreal aesthetic. The only way he could get the budget to do something like this is to make it extremely accessible, meaning the narrative had to be extremely generic. Whelp.. it worked. Holy sh*t did it work.

    The thing is now that he’s established the rules of his universe behind this assy narrative, he can do all sorts of stuff in a sequel. I mean, he’s got a physical manifestation of gaia/ psychic connections going on. That’s not going to sit backseat for long.

  14. People seriously need to stop bashing “Avatar” for being “unoriginal.” People who call “Avatar” unoriginal clearly don’t understand the role of modern cinema. Every plot, every scene and every character has been done. The job of modern cinema is to do what was done before a little better. Whether “Avatar” did that is the argument that should be made, bot about how original it is. When it comes to story these days, it’s not so much about what is done but how it’s done, and “Avatar” succeeded mightily in that aspect.

    Given that Cameron is a master of the sequel, and the fact that he’s taking time to further develop his world, I have hopes.

    • “The job of modern cinema is to do what was done before a little better”

      Unfortunately Cameron only achieved this in a visual level, not a storytelling one.

    • I strongly agree on your thoughts on modern cinema.

      I strongly disagree on how you believe “Avatar” improved anything with what it was built off of

    • I love how everyone says that Avatar was a copy of Dances with Wolves, Fern Gully, Pocahontas and also Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Yet, no one says that either of those movies ripped off each other, but they must have had many things in common for Avatar to be a copy of each of them.

      I guess success makes you a bigger target and people will find all sorts of reasons to bash you.

  15. Let’s be honest, the only praise to be said about Avatar was how Cameron managed to create a whole world using just CGI, we didn’t exactly say “Gee, how deep were the characters and that plot?” when we walked out of it.

    I would rather he makes a new film with the Avatar style visuals but with an entirely new premise, than make a sequel to Avatar personally. But hey, if he is going to make Avatar sequels I hope he improves on what was lacking in the first one.

    • Well I respectfully disagree on the point about the story being very derivative because I was very aware of it and it bugged me during the movie. I guess I just have a problem when artists steal so much instead of thinking at least some of it up for themselves. Of course you can’t fault Cameron’s visual foresight and work, he did something incredible for the screen despite any flaws the movie might have had.

      So much has come before and it’s hard to make the argument that they (the artist) never read widely because for no other reason you do it for inspiration. I’m really tired too of companies and artists being cheap, not giving credit where it’s due. Why don’t they just give in and license the properties that they admire and make movies from the real artists that had an original thought that melded it with tropes from the past because it’s really getting hard not to copy what’s come before. The whole thing is very mature and exhausted. For example there is so much really good old Science Fiction out there that you could read from the stuff published from before the 1980’s and if you’re mature like me, not exhaust what’s found in print from before then for the rest of your life. Really a lot of stuff out there and much of it better than what most current scriptwriters can cook up.

      I’m encouraged by Chris Nolan who’s giving credit to Kip Thorn probably from his book ” Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy” which I read back in 2001. Incredible read and very worthy of adaptation from the concepts contained in it. I’m just as excited maybe more about his story as Cameron’s…

  16. I loved Avatar.
    One of the few amazing movies i’ve seen after the new millenium started.
    Yeah, you heard me.

  17. I loved and still love Avatar. Has it flaws? Absolutely. Do I care? Absolutely not. Did I enjoy it every single one of the 5 times that I watched it? Hell yeah!

    Sometimes I feel sorry for people who just hate everything and can’t simply enjoy an incredibly well made movie, just because the story has been done before or is simple, or because they can’t appreciate the tremendous effort that is required to make something like Avatar happen.

    Stories aren’t everything, people! Just like novels aren’t everything. There are also pictures, sculptures, music and other forms of art that can be appreciated without having a complex story. Are they worth any less, because of that? Of course not. So why should a fantastic movie that isn’t all about the story but that excells in everything else be disregarded as junk?

    p.s.: how can Grace be back? She died and the transfer to her avatar body failed.

    • Yes, but how can people enjoy a film when we don’t care about the flat and genric characters, severely preachy message, and predictable outcome? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the film, mostly because of its visuals and action sequences, but everything else was just lacking. I had a good time watching it, but its not nearly as great as it could have been.

    • My exact thoughts. How is Grace alive? lol

      • How are any of the Na’vi still alive? You know that once the humans got off planet they they bombed Pandora from orbit. Once the fires and /or radiation died they flew back down and started mining.

    • I think Cameron mentioned something about flashbacks when asked about how Sigourney Weaver would be in the sequel.

      It would be interesting to see some of the work she did before Sully came to the planet.

  18. James Cameron seems like an artist of his work, and takes it seriously. He wants to make sure he can deliver a film that will impact as many audiences as possible. He also does tremendous amounts of research in writing the script. With this step, it’s the most time consuming.

    I am a fan of “Avatar” and “Titanic”. I thought they were both of brilliant pieces of work from James Cameron. I want the sequel to Avatar to be just as good, better if it can, than the first one. So I think he needs to take his time.

    P.S.: He probably has all the time in the world with the money he has.

  19. Well… it sounds like he is enjoying himself with writing it and all that stuff so i guess thats good, i really hope the sequel is better than the first one because the first one i didn’t find anything special in, it just felt so predictable and seemed like it was such a retold story and all that i personally think i could have not seen this movie and nothing about my life would have changed. I’m not against the telling of how nature is important and all but if they are going to tell it i would try to tell it in a different more unique way that has never been told before which is tricky for me at least but i would enjoy trying to do it. I just hope the next one is better

  20. Does anyone really care about Avatar anymore?

  21. Yes I care, and I bet when Avatar 2 is close to coming out many will care also, Avatar was a stunning film, In terms of visuals, nothing has come close since, I thinks its just cool to bag it for some people, but for me I cant wait for the sequals, James Cameron isnt too shabby with his film making, The sequals will be quality..

    • The visuals may be stunning and that’s fantastic.
      But the story needs some originality.

      • Avatar may lack originality if you judge it on its broad story beats, but it has plenty of interesting, original concepts within it’s frame, plus it certainly looked and felt like nothing before it. But even ignoring all of that…why do people look past his other work? He’s made many fantastic movies that are very original and unique, and two of them were sequels for gods sake. I get that those were his prime years, but I hate how people judge him as if hes made one movie.

  22. “Ugh… We get it, we’ll recycle please for crying out loud just make another terminator already.” LOL sorry i just had to quote Honest trailers LOL

  23. Well for the next sequals probably will be 9 years or more in the future. If the planet earth plans an attack on Pandora, it takes five years and nine months to get to Pandora. Earth is 4.5 light years away from Alfa Centaury System were Pandora is.

  24. Avatar is one film that I am ambivalent about for various reasons. I enjoyed my time watching it on Christmas Day with the family after waiting some time in a huge line of people waiting to watch the film. The 3D visuals were good and while some may say the film’s core premise and themes are overly simplified and “down one’s throat”, I honestly felt the execution was decent and did its job. It was always clear that what people wanted to see were the visual aspects and presentation of the film–I do not recall waiting to be wowed by new mythology and memorable characters etc on screen.

    The other part is that after the “magic” was gone, and I watch on DVD–its not the same. I still feel execution is fine. The themes are a core part of the story and I don’t mind it. The story lacked a certain edge to it. I did believe there was some things the could have been dealt with differently just to make things less predictable and give a new direction. Some say the story was too reminiscent of past work that may have arguably been done better, but in the current era of cinema original ideas and films are hard to come by–especially originals films done well and successful. Everything seems to be some sort of adaptation, part of a franchise, re-imagining, reboot, spin offs or just plain damn same concepts different actors.

    James Cameron’s Avatar had a good general concept of this other world in which he tried to tie it and ground into familiar concept and archetypes that is primal to humanity. Just as Star Wars drew from myths and legends to drive the essence of its galactic fairy tale, Avatar drew from stories and themes that are much closer in history which still speak volumes. The difference lie in the direction the story took. Star Wars used its archetypes in order to ground the fantastical story in a view accepting and more tangent for audience to relate to, but Avatar relied to heavily in its archetypes and the fantastic became just the rails of the familiar plot. It was executed fairly well, in terms of how popular the film turned out, both monetary and critically despite the heavy flaw.

    I feel in the hands of someone less competent, the film could have done worst. But all things considered, there is a reason why the film was successful. Execution was fine, but the story itself lost direction. It seems hopefully that James Cameron is returning to his original concepts and fleshing out the details that may have gotten lost on the way.

  25. I am very particular about films, and I like Avatar. Yes, the plot is a composite of things that have been done before. Okay, fair enough; there is nothing damning about that. Yes, the message is heavy handed, but that is what it is, and certainly a worthwhile message. I thought that the main character was well-developed, and the story was concisely executed. Simplicity is not an evil. I would rather have a simple story with a clear identity than would-be epic complexity that can’t hold up its own pretensions. Or, you can look at Avatar as a spectacle of visual creation, on which level it definitely delivers.

  26. LOTS OF WHINNING CRY BABIES HERE! THE FILM MADE 2.8 BILLION! WHAT DOES THAT TELL YAH? I guess billions of people had lost their minds eh? Lol! just relax and enjoy!

    Just saw “Life of Pi” over the weekend.. WTH?? And it was dubbed the next “AVATAR?”

  27. Avatar 1 = Smurfs
    Avatar 2 = Snorks

  28. Seen Avatar once. Never want to watch it again. Whole “humans kill all they touch” environmentalist feel to movie was way too heavy. If the next 2 will be more of the same then I doubt that I will waste my money to see another one, no matter how pretty it is.

  29. Avatar, to me, was the most “anti human race” movie I have ever seen. At the end, I felt betrayed. I wanted to go fight with my fellow humans. But that’s just me.

    • That’s just it. It was pretty good representation of what we, as a race, actually do with the world. Did you have a look around lately?

      • Is your response to my statement meant to make me commit treason against my own race? If aliens invaded, we should all just say “eff it, we’re terrible people anyways” and just get annihilated?

        • Ok. the human race was attacking thier planet. they had every right to fight back and its not about being human or alien its about fighting for what you love and personaly i beleive that our planet earth was every bit as beautiful (not as shiny and awesome but beautiful) as Pansora is way back when we werent destroying it. the earth still is a beautiful place whenever you get lucky enough to find a small part of it that isnt overrun with buildings and cars. do i love technology?? yes. would i go back and change it if i could??? definately. why? cause maybe not me or my children, but their childrens children are going to be living in a dried up waseland if we keep on the road that we are on.

    • ps: humans are actually like that. we just dont always see it. the government is power hungry and money hungry. and if there was a padora out there that was full of some precious rock or gold or something… it pains me to say… but would i put it past the human race to blow up someones home to get it????? no…. i do not…. and that is a sad fact.