James Cameron Talks AVATAR 2, 3, Even AVATAR 4; Says He Now Only Wants to Make AVATAR Movies

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After the absurd success of Titanic in 1997 and 1998, it took director James Cameron more than a decade to get around to his next feature film, Avatar, which debuted to more absurd success in 2009 and 2010.  We must always admire Cameron’s ability to deliver original properties that are both commercial hits and critical favorites.  But according to the director, he’s done with the worldbuilding aspect of filmmaking:

“Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the Avatar business. Period. That’s it. I’m making Avatar, Avatar 2, Avatar 3, maybe Avatar 4.”

Hit the jump for Cameron’s full explanation.

avatar 2 posterCameron visited China recently during the Beijing Film Festival, where he spoke with the New York Times.  Here’s the full quote of interest.

“I’ve divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. I’ve made two movies in 16 years, and I’ve done eight expeditions. Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the Avatar business. Period. That’s it. I’m making Avatar, Avatar 2, Avatar 3, maybe Avatar 4, and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts. And that all sounds I suppose a little bit restricted, but the point is I think within the Avatar landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way. And anything I can’t say in that area, I want to say through documentaries, which I’m continuing.”

Though deliberate and definitive, Cameron doesn’t need to stick to the plan he lays out here.  Cameron may very well find that he has something that neither non-fiction nor the Na’vi can address.  I pray he eventually remembers how much he wants to adapt the manga Battle Angel, because it sounds good-crazy and Cameron is the only person who could get it made.  Alas, the director is happy to revert to his second career as a documentarian often enough, making five in the last decade.  In his next project, Deepest Challenge, Cameron takes the viewer down to the deepest point of the Earth’s oceans.  Speaking selfishly, as someone who really likes his features and has never seen a Cameron documentary, it is disheartening to see the ultimate populist with the power and wealth to make any movie impose such insular restrictions on his goals.

Given the recent news that Avatar 2 will probably not be ready for its planned December 2014 release date, Cameron updated us on where they are at in developing the sequels:james cameron avatar 2 sequel

“We’ve spent the last year and a half on software development and pipeline development. The virtual production methodology was extremely prototypical on the first film. As then, no one had ever done it before and we didn’t even know for two and half years into it and $100 million into it if it was going to work. So we just wanted to make our lives a whole lot easier so that we can spend a little more of our brainpower on creativity. It was a very, very uphill battle on the first film. So we’ve been mostly working on the tool set, the production pipeline, setting up the new stages in Los Angeles, setting up the new visual effects pipeline in New Zealand, that sort of thing. And, by the way, writing. We haven’t gotten to the design stage yet. That’ll be the next.”

Cameron has said that Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 are one script, “not really a trilogy, but just an overall character arc.”  They will reportedly be shot back to back.  Depending on when Cameron finishes, I wonder if Fox is committed to a December release for both films, or if they might try the summer.

It’s not related, but I think this quote deserves an excerpt:

“There are filmmakers that come along that are quite iconoclastic. And that I’m in awe of, frankly. Zack Snyder’s 300. I think that was a really revolutionary film, because it was a completely deconstructive form of filmmaking in a way that nobody had done before, other than maybe Robert Rodriguez.”

Don’t worry, if you read the full interview, he circles back to praise “the old guard… Spielberg, Kubrick, and all that sort of thing.”

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  • Twojawas

    I find Titanic and Avatar to be a bit like McDonald’s in that even though McDonald’s sells the most hamburgers in the world this says nothing about their quality.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/colliderbrendan Brendan Bettinger

      McDonald’s, Titanic, and Avatar all give you a great experience for your dollar.

      • Anon

        If you consider diarrhea a great experience…

      • spongefist

        Avatar was beyond shit.

    • Kenneth

      Well, every blockbuster Hollywood is making is like eating hamburgers at McDonald’s.

    • lovetron

      Yet you still pull through to the second window.

    • WEV

      yeah and instantly regret it once youv eaten it

    • gallendorf

      More like a Mcdonals Grand Angus (here in Australia), which tasted pretty damn good the first time.

    • Alexx

      Lol.
      And what are Supermans, Batmans, Spidermans and all other unwatchable, american-save-the-world, superhero crap?!

      If Titanic and Avatar are like burgers, then all those marvel and dc crap is nothing more than leftover greasy scrap from barbecue of those burgers.

      • duh

        you’re kidding right?

        avatar was a fluffy piece of crap. the writing is abysmal. it’s a fucking joke. “you are like a bahy-bee” lmfao, are you kidding me? it’s one of the most obvious, unintelligent films i’ve ever seen. it’s also pretty much a direct rip off of fern gully. avengers, iron man, and the dark knight are spectacular films even if you ignore the fact that they feature iconic pop culture characters. the writing in iron man and the avengers is smart, witty, and well executed. the dark knight was on a whole other level, coming off as a psychological thriller. these films all feature iconic performances from state of the art actors. sam worthington, zoe what’sherface, and the guy who plays the same asshole military guy in everything that he’s in were all 2 dimensional and even laughable. no offense, but i’ve gotta question your taste.

      • Bozan

        Are you really jumping on the whole “This ripped off Ferngullly” bandwagon that you read on some other comment post a few years ago anyway? Why? How? Because SOME of the film takes place in a forest setting it’s a ripoff of Ferngully? Did no other film in history from any other country have several sequences take place in forests before Ferngully came out in the early 1990s? That’s about as flimsy as calling Star Wars a ripoff of Star Trek simply because it too had space battles or Unforgiven a ripoff of A Fistful of Dollars because men with cowboy hats ride horses in both. Try again. Try harder!

        I’m not defending Avatar per se, I did enjoy it very much the first time I saw it in 3D in theaters because there was no other experience quite like it ever (let’s face facts), but the second time I went a few months later I dozed off. It’s just some of the arguments try extra overhard to bash the film really lack legitimacy. “It rips off Smurfs because it too has blue people that walk on two legs and talk!”. Gee, way to just run with other forum posts you read that losers had posted on IMDb, guys!

      • David

        I think another project Cameron has announced is a personal commitment to shoot a film on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as told through the story of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a man who survived both attacks. Cameron met with Yamaguchi just days before he died in 2010.It sound very interresting but if he said not interrested in any project exept Avatar sequels? well what a shame…

    • tarek

      Shut up your mouths you silly moths ^^

      Avatar is the best thing that happened to the cinema since Aliens.

      I am eager to watch Avatar 2 in Real 3D Imax.

      Cameron is an artist and a genius. Not a dumb Director like Tarantino or Michael Bay.

      • George

        Michael Bay? sure, a hack. But Tarantino? You’re joking right? Avatar and Titanic will never be on a level the same as Pulp Fiction. Or even Reservoir Dogs and Inglorious Basterds.

      • jaylanaDFW

        I’m so happy I’ve found at least 1 fan on here.

        With respect to everyone’s own opinion, the people on here bashing Avatar are real dick heads. SO WHAT if the set up is SIMILAR to pocahontas. SO WHAT if these aliens don’t have slimey skin or laser shooting gadgets.

        AVATAR IS FU**ING AWESOME AND SO IS JAMES CAMERON

        So the message isn’t original, who cares! THE MOVIE IS ABOUT POLITICAL MORALITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Since when is that original no matter who’s spittin it out? What matters is the delivery, and when ever someone can show me another frickin movie that does what this movie does, I’ll choke on my own damn nipple!!!!!!!

        This movie take you into another world; more so than pocahontas. Its inventive. I like that he took his time in creating this world so that everything about it flows together, nothing contradicts. It may not be superdynamic, but its sci-fi people. I, for one, haven’t seen anything better.

        In my family, ‘Avatar’ is spoken and watched with reverence. I never get sick of it. I have it on regular DVD, blue ray, and on the blue ray special collector’s edition because I have no problem paying that man’s bills. I can’t wait for 2,3,and 4 to come out.

        Show a little respect for him. I don’t see any of your names in the lights.

      • Jen

        I fully agree with you. An amazing movie! I just love love love it and can’t wait until the next one. It is hard to wait so long but is totally worth it :) I understand everyone has different taste but come on people be fair. This movie was sooo well done, James Cameron we love you :)

  • Nik

    Word bro, especially now that FX is airing Avatar every f…ing day!

  • Nick

    James Cameron, Committed to mediocrity for the foreseeable future! Oh wait, that’s been true ever since he finished terminator 2…

    • AManWithAKilt

      I don’t know, True Lies is pretty freaking awesome.

  • amac

    pretty brash comments, but hell, he’s james cameron. I think he’s earned the right to do whatever he wants to at this point.

    I also think that he’ll definitely continue to support other filmmakers projects through his production company and tech. in a way, he’s helping other filmmakers make more james cameron movies.

  • potterboy

    WHAT THE F?!!!

    Battle Angel? screw you Cameron! i like Avatar but you’re talent is too good to be left in just the world of Pandora

  • mattinacan

    i think all the trips to the bottom of the ocean has affected his brain. i could only sit through avatar once, and once was enough.

  • Northern Star

    I’m not surprised at anything Cameron says nowadays, the guy’s ego has basically went supernova since ‘Avatar’ hit big – before it’s release he seemed more humble and mellow, after it’s release he’s basically become a self-righteous egomaniac and a political propagandist – it looks like ol’ J.C. will go down the George Luca$ route of filmmaking… cannibalize your previous output because you’ve basically GOT NO ORIGINAL IDEAS LEFT, ’nuff said and screw you Cameron!

  • BOF!

    He’s an interesting character, and has always been audacious and savagely confident; look at his latest dive down the Mariana Trench. He feels to me like a mixture between Howard Hughes and Jacques Cousteau, but with more money. I suspect in time he’ll mostly be remembered for pushing technology in cinema forward, for better or for worse. Although his authority might continue to put him in a position where people fear to criticize him, like Lucas and his prequels. His subsequent Avatar films could be even more on-the-nose with his environmental themes that they might come across as overtly didactic.

    Here’s to that hopefully not happening. Hopefully. For the love of Aiwa!

  • dogg

    Avatar was a half billion dollar movie with a buck fifty plot. Keep that gorgeous world, but for god’s sake have someone else write them! We’ll end up with Fern Gully Part 6: The Blooming.

    • WEV

      hahahaha good shout

  • Jeff

    Hahaha fern gully part 6 thats golden. But i have to agree his hubris has gotten a bit inflated since avatar. Why would such a creative person say he is donr making new stuff he is just gona rehash his avatar every few years thats absurd.

  • excpired

    Cameron’s gone nuts. Battle Angel would’ve been cool, and can he please quit harassing the ocean? I think its about to use that old 3 day old fish quote on him.

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  • Alex

    I guess we can say goodbye to that Hiroshima movie. :(

  • Aaronsullivan

    Im still holding out hope that he trusts the audience to follow a more complex story and more nuanced characters this time around. Even though many despise the simplicity and flatness of many elements in Avatar, this guy can write amazing characters (Aliens and Abyss come to mind). He had a better script for Avatar but perhaps wisely grounded it in something familar (Dances with Wolves/pocohantas) so that the effects and the overwhelming 3D could be appreciated by a wider audience in my estimation.

    Hopefully, without all the uncertainty from the first production, we get a sequel that is a far better movie for the long run, even if it turns out to be less successful. Like Empire Strikes Back for instane.

  • ozzie

    Avatar was ok at best … and i like a lot of what other people would consider crap movies … especially the self appointed critics trolling the collider comment section.

  • Xavier

    He has lost his mind and all his sanity… I guess this was too much success for a human to handle.

    IMHO Titanic was overrated, and Avatar a 1 to 1 Pocahontas copy. I wish he would simply admit it, but he claims to have invented the reel…

    Get that man some doctors before he starts to run amok.

  • 2face

    He’s become a liberal preacher. Once you catch that flu, there is no turning back.

  • Jake

    Sorry but Avatar is a pile of sh_t compared to T1, T2, Aliens etc.

  • knowledge

    Yeah, Cameron has kind of become an annoying dude. Avatar wasn’t that great. The technology was. But now that better movies have used the technology no one cares about Avatar anymore. I think he believes that since it was so well received that any movie he made from there on out would be both well received critically and at the box office and these last two “projects” of his haven’t panned out at the box like he had hoped I guess.

  • Crimson

    He will end in a straiht jacket alongside George Lucas in a few years.

  • rocky

    He isn’t a liberal, he is deep into preservation thou. They’re not mutually exclusive even if the far far right or left wants you to believe that.

    All of Cameron’s films seemed to have broken new ground. Yeah storywise Avatar may have been his weakest since it’s been told many times but he still managed to do it in the most entertaining way of all its predecessors

    I can see getting some mileage out of the Avatar universe, lots to explore and expand either to earth or other planets.

    Lastly I don’t get the hate for the guy. He has earned everything he has, he’s incredibly multifaceted and talented. I don’t have a problem if he wants to use his clout to make films that fit his agenda but that is a risky move since anyone that feels like they’re being preached to can easily be turned off. So make sure first and foremost the films are kick-ass

    • RIC

      Stop trying to fool yrself kid. Apart from the environmentalist standpoint AVATAR is flush with anti-american and racist messages. It is one of the clearest examples of a liberal movie in the history of film.

      • screen text

        As opposed to a film with a conservative point of view: Transformers. (Loud, dumb and obsessed with guns)

      • El

        “anti-american”… Please, get out of here.

  • fede

    F…k avatar. I want BATTLE ANGEL.

  • Marlboroliteman

    Cameron’s just gonna make Avatar movies from now on….some where in the world Sam Worthington is pitching a tent.

  • your dark knight ends

    I’m getting a howard hughs wibe here.

  • Sean

    The new George Lucas!

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  • MR.Rich316

    Is it April first on Pandora? Avatar 2 maybe if its The Empire strikes Back. Avatar 3 not interested…Avatar 4 straight to dvd. Maybe he should be in the terminator business again.

  • American_Beagle

    I hope he changes his mind gets on making battle angel! He did say that he loves the property too much to let anyone else do it. Please Jim, think clearly for you fans!

  • Shaun FFrth

    Ever since The Abyss, it seems like he’s been more interested in creating new technologies than new stories. My hope is that after a couple of years of not building anything, he’ll decide he wants to make a movie about Mars. And decide it has to be shot ON MARS! Now that would make for some technical challenges. And he probably has just about enough money to pull it off. (That was a joke folks). But really, I just can’t see a guy that driven being ok with just rehashing the same characters and scenery. On the other hand, while I enjoyed Avatar, I will admit I like it more for how it looks and sounds than for the story it tells. So maybe if he can concentrate on simply storytelling, we can get another Abyss or T2 only set on Pandora. Maybe he can get Arnold to play the king of a rival tribe. Still, if he thinks that making the humans the “bad guys” is going to shame us into saving the planet, he’s in for a rude awakening. Maybe getting to work on that whole Mars concept might not be such a bad idea after all.

  • JFairweather

    RIC – Read the constitution. Stealing someone else’s land for greed is not American. Racist? I couldhave sworn that Avatar was about overcoming prejudice and seeing the beauty of others.

    Rocky – One thing about the wild-eyed radical right – any one who does not think like them is a liberal. If someone came to you, forced you out of your home, paid you seven cents on the dollar for the value of your home and then built a dam and put your neighborhood under water, you would be screaming about your rights. This is the kind of travesty that Cameron is taking an active on-site role in fighting in Brazil, where the government is trying to do this very thing to the locals.

    As for Avatar, this was not a brainless shoot-em-up like Terminator. This was intended to reach the audience on a very deep level. If someone is not into this kind of film, it is not because the film sucks. It is because they are deaf to the deeper issues.

    There have been a number of films over they past 15 years that do this and which make a profound impact – films such as Parenthood, Grand Canyon and Avatar – but these are not the kind of films that cater to the violence and testosterone crowd. There are plenty of films to keep that group happy.

    • Jay

      Agreed. I always see people making fun of Cameron because the movie acknowledged environmental issues! I really don’t understand that. They flock to embrace regular blockbusters (all the DC and Marvel films… I love them though, I’m just saying), but when a blockbuster with a message comes out, they bash it? I just will never understand all the hate for Avatar.

  • Mike

    I was a big fan of Cameron, he did great movies like The Abyss, Terminator 2 als Aliens. But Titanic was BS and Avatar was big mediocre BS. Sadly this guy has lost his mojo.

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  • kemo517

    Do what you want James, It’s America and you have free will. Let any sorry suckers make a better movie if they are so bent on your chioices.

  • Hrothgar

    I didn’t think much of Avatar. The plot was predictable from beginning to end. The only new thing about it was the world it took place in, but the story itself had been done to death. Dances with Wolves, Fernfully, Pocahontas….even stories like District 9 and Last Samurai (which are less like Avatar) still have a white guy who becomes part of a new culture and “saves” it.

    I have no interest in another Avatar, but hey Cameron is rich enough to never make a single movie ever again so he can do as he pleases. And if all he ever does for the rest of his life are Avatar movies, I’m sure people will go see them.

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  • Dacritics.org

    I don’t know why but I get the impression that James Cameron is a volcano lair away from becoming a supervillain.

    More comments from Luca…James Cameron at Dacritics org

  • growndhawgg

    This trilogy already has a park in Orlando!

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  • Josh

    Avatar was lame and only did well because of the hype and some unfamiliar new technology. Other than some neat effects the movie itself was terrible. It’s sad to hear one of my favorite directors is dedicating his career now to this trash. What an idiot.

  • Gadfly

    I’m not surprised that those who hate Avatar are bashing it by saying it’s similar to other movies (Fern Gully, Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves) as they have nothing really to bash it on otherwise. Instead of being inspired by those movies I would think it’s be more apt to say he was inspired by history.

    I’m assuming that most of these comments are by those who get their political opinions by watching South Park and any liberal theme in a movie causes them to lose their minds.

    Though, I’m the same way in some respects. It bothers me when I see right wing themes glorified in film. The main difference is left wing ideals are in line with the common good while right wing ideals are not.

    I would go so far as to say that the greatest works of art (film, books, etc) all have left wing themes.

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  • mike.a

    J.C. lost his damn mind. Battle angel is a must see, the terminator series needs some serious help and avatar was ok at best. Somebody get this man a shrink.

  • Al

    I wrote the Avatar movies as well as the cartoon series. I am a ghostwriter who has not been paid for my work! I will be suing Fox as well as releasing some of my screenplays to the public! The world has been watching my movies for three decades now and I am sick of the Hollywood B.S.

  • Anon

    Oh the backlashers still pegging Avatar? 90% of these comments are so knee-jerk now.

  • president

    Avatar is the best – PERIOD.

    NOTHING will beat it – all the best Mr Cameron.

    Don’t pay attention to these no good for nothing worthless brainless suck ups.

    AVATAR 1,2,3,4 ETC ALL THE WAY!

  • someguy

    One way or another all you guys and gals watched avatar and will most likely watch avatar 2, the films are there to be enjoyed and to “entertain” us….

    Yeah there may be messages in the storylines and different people will have different says on what they like/dislike but why all the hating? JC is doing what any other human would do in his position, he is in a business and has found a good way through avatar to make lots of dollar; as much as a shame it is i cant really blame him for utilising what he has already built on.

    I cant see it being a long term thing and well it may all crumble but your amateur film critic opinions in the form of comments on here aint going to change a damn thing

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  • tieet

    idk wat the fadoddle you haters are talkin bout Avatar was awesome they shud mak more SMDH to ALL Haters

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  • Ijam

    For all the people that failed to read his quote on why he is only focusing on the avatar series and filming documentaries. How the heck can you not see the aspect of it, in this day and age, when consistently most movies that make it big are about the most superficial and materialist terms in human society. James Cameron has stated that the reason to do all these films is not for ego but presenting these films with the insight of the problems of today. This guy is choosing selfishly to not do anything else for the sake of waking your lazy, and egotastic minds in the hope that you will pay respects to the planet, and actually have a empathy and aptitude to make the world a tranquil and peaceful place before all these damn wars happened, against man itself and the whole planet. Get the hell off Fox news yo, shits worse than mcdonalds.

  • daw1991

    Michael Bay? sure, a hack. But Tarantino? You’re joking right? Avatar and Titanic wil never be on a level the same as Pulp Fiction. Or even Reservoir Dogs and Inglorious Basterds.

    Smh Avatar is and titanic is the best movies! The box office and records tells it all!

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  • mikkel

    you should make a avatar 2 and 3 and 4, it´s a very good movie please make them all

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