Director James Cameron explains his vision for future Avatar sequels after The Way of Water, comparing the series as a whole to episodic television.
James Cameron views the entire Avatar franchise, including the recent Avatar: The Way of Water, as one single story split into several episodes much like a season of television.
Speaking to TheWrap, Cameron laid out his roadmap for future Avatar films, which will contain five movies total if all goes well. He hopes to strike a balance between smaller, self-contained stories and the franchise’s larger interconnected narrative. To this end, Cameron sees each film as a long “episode” of television. “It’s one big story. It’s really one big story, but it’s like episodic television,” he said. “Each one has its own proximal resolution. The character problems continue across the cut.”
Currently, filming for the entire third film and part of the fourth film are already completed, since they were shot at the same time as The Way of Water. That was done mostly to make sure they filmed the children’s scenes before the actors grew up too quickly, but it will also help Cameron and 20th Century Studios start releasing Avatar movies at more consistent intervals. Instead of another 13-year gap between movies, Avatar 3 would come out in 2024, Avatar 4 in 2026, and Avatar 5 in 2028. Cameron specified that he’ll only continue making Avatar sequels if they continue to do well in the box office, and The Way of Water is now the second highest-grossing movie of 2022.
What Is Avatar: The Way of Water’s Story?
The Way of Water returns to the main characters from the original 2009 movie, the human Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and the Na’vi Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), who are now leaders of their tribe on Pandora. After a decade of peace, the humans return to Pandora to colonize the entire planet after learning that the Earth is dying. Using similar technology to the “avatar” tech which allows Jake Sully to live as a Na’vi, the humans create “recombinant” Na’vi avatars with the minds of dead human soldiers, forcing Jake Sully and his mostly blue family to flee to a nearby water-dwelling Na’vi tribe.
Even if Avatar sequels will continue the same story established by the first two films, Cameron hopes to use each movie to expand his fictional universe in new ways. For example, the director plans to introduce a fire-dwelling Na’vi tribe called the Ash people in Avatar 3, who will potentially be more villainous than the forest-dwelling and water-dwelling Na’vi who have appeared so far.
Avatar: The Way of Water is currently in theaters.
Source: The Wrap