The very first Avatar, which debuted back in 2009, grossed well over $2.7 billion worldwide. This led to numerous milestones at the box office, including highest-grossing movie in history. Also, it garnered a plethora of prestigious awards, including three Academy Awards (Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects) and two Golden Globe Awards (Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Director - James Cameron). And, it was received extremely well by critics - it holds an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 292 reviews with the consensus, "it might be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling, but Avatar reaffirms James Cameron's singular gift for imaginative, absorbing filmmaking." Consequently, it is no surprise that director James Cameron (who also co-produced and wrote Avatar) wants us all to relive the stunningly imaginative world of Pandora.
During a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session last Saturday, Cameron spoke about the next three films. Specifically, he spoke about the scripts for each sequel:
The second, third, and fourth films all go into production simultaneously. They're essentially all in pre-production now because we are designing creatures, settings, and characters that span all three films. And we should be finished with all three scripts within the next, I would say, six weeks.
So not only will the scripts be done soon, but so will the whole pre-production phase. That's great news! Maybe we can get a few early glimpses of those creatures, settings and characters he is referring to. Not too much information, though. I am not a huge fan of spoilers, after all.
Moreover, Cameron continued by talking about the pressures that go into trying to make a sequel (or in this case, a trio of sequels) better than the original. This is what he said:
There's always pressure, whether it's a new film or whether it's a sequel, to entertain and amaze an audience. I've felt that pressure my entire career, so there's nothing new there. The biggest pressure I feel right now is cutting out things I love to get the film down to a length that is affordable. There hasn't been a problem finding new and wonderful things to include in the movie.
Yeah, it probably should not be too difficult finding new things to include. I would have thought that there is still much to explore inside the world of the Na'vi. However, the degree of difficulty certainly increases as the decision to delete scenes, or eliminate particular elements/ideas, looms nearer. The 2009 original was 2 hours and 42 minutes long, so I am guessing that will be the target length for the sequels.
The question becomes: how will Cameron develop the story in order to entice more people to watch the films? And, will the overarching story make successful transitions from film to film? We can all perhaps safely assume that the visual effects and cinematography will be breathtaking, which would certainly excite many fans (myself included). But, the story told to accompany that could become just as important.
Speaking of the films' visuals, Cameron enunciated on his desire for creating them bigger and better:
I believe all movies should be made in 3-D, forever, but the projection needs to be better and brighter. I want people to see in the movie theaters what I am seeing in my perfectly calibrated screening room and people aren't seeing that. Larger formats. I'd love to see screens get bigger.
Hear that, movie theaters? Mr. Cameron is subtly forcing you all against your respective wills to upgrade all of your respective TV screens so that moviegoers everywhere can see things clearer and brighter. So, commence upgrading. NOW!!! If not, then we will have to find a way of obtaining replicas of that perfectly calibrated screening room Cameron enjoys so much.
Anyway, we can all hope that the next three Avatar films continue to amaze us even more so that the first one did. James Cameron is creative and imaginative enough to achieve such a feat. So, it is definitely safe to say that the films are in very capable hands.
Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Stephen Lang are returning for the sequels, with production on Avatar 2 set to begin this coming fall.
The Avatar sequels will be released in theaters December 2016 through 2018.
Generally speaking, do you think "Avatar 2" will be better than its predecessor?
[Image from: Collider]