For the first time in a long 12 years, James Cameron will be having a feature film grace the screens next week. That movie of course is the eagerly anticipated Avatar. With this movie and the tech behind it taking so long in development and finally coming to fruition in a matter of days, the question on everyone’s mind is “what’s next?”
If Tom Arnold’s words hold any truth from what he said back in August, it could be a film starring Tom and Arnold Schwarzenegger, re-teaming for the first time since 1994’s True Lies. At the time, Tom Arnold said they’d be shooting “in 14 months,” meaning next November, and that it won’t be called True Lies 2 but that “it might as well be.” That got many excited until Cameron himself debunked the rumor (Not to mention, Schwarzenegger’s still in office).
So, what is the next Cameron epic then? Production Weekly tweeted an update about the next James Cameron project that will occupy his time once Avatar finally launches so we finally have some info on what he really is working on next.
“James Cameron is developing a Shane Salerno-scripted sci-fi action script for Fox, described as an “event” film set in the future.”
It’s called Avatar 2.
I’m joking of course, but Cameron, in hopes of hyping up next week’s premiere of his long-in-development sci-fi epic, did mention that a second and third Avatar film will likely be coming pending the performance of next week’s release. There’s still a wide range of box office predictions for the 3D epic, some expect disappointment, some say its destined to succeed.
Speaking on the topic of a sequel in September, Avatar producer and longtime collaborator for James Cameron, Jon Landau, spoke on what the sequel could be about, hinting where it could take place.
“If the public likes Avatar, it’s a possibility. After all, here we are exploring the surface of the planet Pandora. The interior remains to be seen.”
With word of a potential sequel, I suppose we can expect the lead characters (or at least some of them) to make it through the story of Avatar alive. So if you’re expecting some horrifying apocalyptic conclusion to Avatar and the loss of all protagonists, it probably won’t be happening.
In an interview with Sci Fi Wire, Cameron talked about the film, its reaction and expectations as well as his goals with the project.
“I know there’s been a lot of talk and speculation about it, but it’s kind of like the generic Oscar buzz out there—it’s pretty ridiculous when people haven’t even see the movie… All anyone has seen is the 25 minutes of various scenes we showed at Comic-Con—and that’s not the movie! How can fans judge it by that?”
I understand what Cameron is saying but over the last few weeks, it seems every day we’re getting a new set of trailers, teasers and video clips, many of which show a lot of stuff not presented to those of us attending the presentation at San Diego Comic-Con in July. I have high hopes for Avatar but I do see too much marketing in recent days, likely making up for the non-existence of marketing for Avatar prior to Comic-Con.
Moving on, Cameron explains his decision for the look of the Na’Vi native aliens on the planet Pandora featured in Avatar.
“I wasn’t going for the alien. I wasn’t going for the ugly and strange. I was going for something that’s an expression of beautiful human movement in the film. They symbolize the best of us in the way the film works subconsciously, which I feel is aspirational. What they really are is a heightened sense of ourselves and what we could and should be.”
On the topic of what the story is really about as well the sequel, Cameron says the movie “is not true science fiction in the sense of saying, ‘This is what contact with an alien species would be like.’ It’s not about that at all. It’s about how we’ve lost contact with ourselves in a natural state. So if we fail, it all ends there, but if we are successful then we’ll make more films, and that world will continue to flesh itself out and be a place that fans can go to.”
So, aside from producing Battle Angel and Sanctum and working on a bunch of other in-development projects, James Cameron may eventually helm an Avatar sequel but next up he’ll be sticking to the sci-fi genre working with a script from Shane Salerno, the man behind the screenplays for Shaft and Aliens vs Predator – Requiem. Salerno’s profile is expanding exponentially with him penning a script for Cameron as well as the screenplay for the untitled Bob Orci-Alex Kurtzman project.
We now know what project James Cameron will be working on with writer Shane Salerno. It turns out that it’s another Digital 3D project a la Avatar and it’s a remake of Fantastic Voyage, the 1966 adventure sci-fi film about a team of scientists who shrink themselves (and their submarine) to enter the brain and save the life of a nearly-assassinated diplomat.
Cameron however will not be directing, but will be producing the project.
As for the Avatar sequels? The movie is getting positive reviews from the press premieres that took place yesterday (read our Avatar review here) and Fox is happy about the idea of making a sequel for a significantly lesser financial and time investment, said Cameron at the premiere.
“So in terms of the pitch it was: OK, you’ve spent a lot of money on the first one; on the second one we’ll be able to amortize it and focus on the story and all that … and they bought that.”
He’s worked out plots for two more films, so if the first film lives up to its newly positive buzz, expect another trip to Pandora…
What do you think and what would you like to see next from James Cameron?
Sources: Production Weekly, /Film, Sci Fi Wire, Variety