James Cameron Talks Avatar Sequel Writing Process

Director James Cameron on set

Whatever your opinion of James Cameron may be, it’s hard to argue with the idea that the writer/director exemplifies the saying "go big or go home." Since destroying box office records worldwide with two of the top five highest grossing films of all time - Avatar, Titanic - Cameron has journeyed to the deepest point of the world’s oceans, begun farming and selling his own organic vegetables, and is busy working to get four sequels underway to 2009’s CGI blockbuster, Avatar.

Indeed, James Cameron takes his work very seriously and this is likely the exact reason why he’s so successful. Since announcing back in April that Avatar would be getting four more sequels shot as “one big production,” fans of the franchise have been understandably eager for updates. Cameron’s first follow up to Avatar is set to arrive in 2018, with the remainder of the films planned all the way up to 2023. Aside from this news, not much else has been revealed about the upcoming sequels since they were first announced.

With Comic-Con currently underway, Cameron is in San Diego as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of Aliens. Taking the opportunity during the Aliens press tables, Screen Rant asked the Oscar-winning director to reveal what he could about the future of the Avatar sequels and where he currently stands in terms of writing. Rather unsurprisingly, Cameron is still writing, but exactly how far along he is with the scripts is impressive, to say the least. Said the director:

"I'm still writing. I finished Avatar 4 two days ago and Avatar 5 I need to do a polish on; it was written by another writer."

Avatar, Zoe Saldana

He then revealed that another writer had worked on Avatar 4 and “gave him what he had.” According to Cameron, the writer – whose identity has not been made public, “did a great job but I just decided it needed to be in my voice.” Cameron then proceeded to elaborate on the work he’s done on all four scripts:

“But ultimately, I've done that across all four of them. We knew that going in. We treated it as a writing room at the beginning and then everyone fed me what they could and I wound up with a thousand pages or whatever it was and now I'm going through it."

Cameron’s ability to focus on four different scripts at once in this respect is nothing if not remarkable. While he has assembled an entire team to help get these films off the ground, his efforts to not only write the sequels, but also to link them all into one massive world is unheard of to date. In this respect, James Cameron has proven himself an innovator in filmmaking. Of course, this feat will really only be viewed as substantial if the films are successful upon their release.

Love it or hate it, Avatar still stands as arguably one of the greatest feats of CGI and 3D filmmaking in the history of cinema. Given Cameron’s previous claims that the imagery thus far in the sequels is way beyond the first film, audiences are surely in for a visual treat. Though it’s far too early to know what to expect overall from these films, if anyone has both the reputation and ability to continuously push the envelope, it’s Cameron.

Avatar 2 is expected to reach theaters in December 2018, followed by Avatar 3 in December 2020, Avatar 4 in December 2022, and Avatar 5 in December 2023.

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