Sigourney Weaver mades waves when she announced that James Cameron plans to shoot three Avatar sequels as a single massive undertaking. However, producer Jon Landau recently clarified that the Avatar 4 will be filmed separate from its peers (assuming it is made at all).
Cameron has since revealed that a fourth Avatar movie (again, should it happen) would take on the form of a prequel to his original box office record-obliterating 3D sci-fi epic. Meanwhile, Landau's playing down speculation that Cameron intends to spend the rest of his days making Avatar films - by suggesting that Cameron's long-awaited Battle Angel/Battle Angel Alita adaptation will finally come to fruition once the Avatar trilogy has been finished.
MTV picked up the above-mentioned Avatar 4 tidbit during an interview with Cameron, who reiterated that he's only working on the scripts for Avatar 2 and 3 at the moment. Cameron admitted he's penning the sequel screenplays as "one big thing"; however, he has also mentioned in the past that new Avatar movies help to complete a three-part story arc set in motion by the original installment - focusing on the further adventures of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) on Pandora, now that his consciousness has been permanently "locked down" into his Na'Vi avatar.
The filmmaker had the following to say, about a prospective Avatar prequel (ie. Avatar 4):
"I haven't really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na'vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world. Because when we drop in, even in the first film in 'Avatar 1,' as it will be known in the future, we're dropping into a process that's 35 years in to a whole colonization."
Cameron made it known that he does not plan to follow in George Lucas' footsteps with the Star Wars franchise - by producing three prequels to compliment his original blockbuster trilogy - rather, once the Avatar trilogy has been finished, "The only thing left to do is go back to see what it was like on those first expeditions [to Pandora] and create some new characters that then become legacy characters in later films. It's a plan."
Once Cameron is through exploring the Avatar universe, it sounds as though he plans to move onto other projects. Some five months ago, he made it known that a Battle Angel adaptation is something he still plans to tackle in the future - and Landau confirmed as much to MovieZine, saying:
"We'll focus on 'Avatar' for the next four or five years. Hopefully right after that… I am confident you will see [a 'Battle Angel' movie]."
Many Battle Angel fans have been excited by the prospect of Cameron lending his technical prowess and storytelling abilities to a live-action adaptation, but have grown increasingly frustrated by the project's lack of progress. Nonetheless, Landau indicated that both he and Cameron remain committed to seeing the film through:
"It's one of my favorite stories, I think it is an incredible story, a journey of self-discovery of a young woman. It is a movie that begs the question: 'What does it mean to be human? Are you human if you have a heart, are you human if you have a mind, are you human if you have a soul?' And I look forward to bringing that film to audiences."
The Avatar sequels are currently without concrete release dates, but Avatar 2 is expected to reach theaters by 2015.
More on Battle Angel as the story develops.