James Cameron Says He’s Trying to Avoid “THE MATRIX RELOADED Problem” on AVATAR Sequels

     September 11, 2012


Though there’s still no firm start date for the promised Avatar sequels, we’ve recently been privy to a few updates on the multiple follow-ups to the highest grossing film of all time.  Last weekend we learned that the planned Avatar 4 would be a prequel to the first film and would be filmed separately from Avatar 2 and 3, and now Cameron has spoken a bit about the writing process for 2 and 3 as well as the technical challenges that he and his team face.

The plan is to shoot both films simultaneously, and when talking about how he’s approaching the dual sequels Cameron mentioned a couple of other follow-ups that were filmed back-to-back as an example of what not to do.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

james-cameron-avatar-2-sequelSpeaking with the LA Times, Cameron said that he’s gearing up to go off to his “top secret writing cave” to finish the scripts for Avatar 2 and 3, but as evidenced by the prolonged development time, it’s no easy undertaking:

“It’s a little bit of a daunting writing task because it’s two scripts and they’ve both gotta be done at the same time. I’m writing it as separate stories that have an overall arc inclusive of the first film. I don’t want to suffer from the Matrix 2 problem, where it just ends, like, what the hell? It’s gotta end. There’s gotta be a sense of conclusion, but also a sense that the journey will continue, and that’s a fine line.”

Many fans were scratching their heads at the end of The WachowskisThe Matrix Reloaded, but it looks like Cameron is insistent that Avatar 2 will feel like its own complete story even though it shares an arc with Avatar 3.

It’s no secret that Cameron spent the time between Titanic and Avatar developing his own cameras and motion-capture technology for the sci-fi epic, but the film still faced a multitude of problems throughout production.  He hasn’t forgotten the tough road as he now faces the task of doubling the workload:

“It was this kludgy prototype the first time,” Cameron said, borrowing an engineering term for clunky. “We always knew as we were going along, this isn’t really working, but we’ll fix it for the sequel. The first film just about killed us, and now we’re gonna try to do twice that much.”

The hoped-for 2014 release of Avatar 2 is no longer a reality, but the article notes that Cameron expects to begin pre-production on the sequels in January with an eye towards releasing the first follow-up sometime in 2015.  Even so, this is James Cameron we’re talking about so I wouldn’t exactly take those dates to heart.



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  • Nomis1700

    Hope Avatar 2 (and 3 AND 4) have a richer plot than the first. Cameron made some fantastic films I’m sure he won’t led us down :).

    Any confirmation that he’ll shoot 2 and 3 with 60 FPS??

    • rusty

      Agree wholeheartedly.
      There’s something to be expected from a perfectionist like Cameron but the waits are unbearable

    • Joshua W.

      I’m hoping these films work as acts in a play. The first has a simplistic plot but introduced us to this beautiful world, the 2nd film should be the humans coming for revenge and the unobtainum and the na’vi end up hiding from the humans distruction (most likely with a death of a main character) and the 3rd film should be the underdogs (na’vi) finally defeating the humans and begin restoring the peace to their beautiful land… and the 4th is a prequel. what do you think?

      • tarek

        as long as Jim is behind the camera, I am okay with that. ^^

      • Felipe AC

        The first one allready did all that.they should do something diferent…

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  • paul tracy

    He should probably avoid that “Cameron” thing.

    i’m fine just re-watching Princess Mononoke.

    ~ p

  • tarek

    I want to see Jim making Rendezvous with Rama.

  • slothboy

    He won’t have the “Matrix Reloaded problem.” It’s impossible. The problem with The Matrix Reloaded was that it was a crappy sequel to an awesome movie.

    Avatar was FAR from awesome.

    • Andrew

      Agreed there.
      Though the visuals were pretty awesome (in Avatar) the story was lacking,& the similar ending was handled so much better in both Pans Labyrinth & The Orphanage movies.

  • cap

    I never understood people’s problems with Matrix Reloaded’s ending. Knowing that conclusion was supposed to come just 6 months later I wasn’t bothered by the whole cliffhanger thing. I mean, look at how Empire Strikes Back ended: Luke looses the fight with Vader, who turns out to be his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. Nothing is resolved and it’s all about what comes next.

    • tarek

      Reloaded was a sequel for the sake of a sequel. that’s why it was blatantly boring. So let’s forget it.

      • ScaredForMovies

        It was hardly boring. Lack of action wasn’t the problem with the Matrix sequels. It was story. After the build up of the first movie the second and third script were crushed under the weight of high expectations. It was impossible to live up to the hype, let alone rise above the story in the first Matrix.

      • tarek

        You can have loads of action and still get bored ===> Transformers nonsense sequels.

        Matrix was a perfect standalone movie. The mistake was to create a sequel without any intrigue. The moment you start caring for no one in the movie, you know it is a stincker.

      • ScaredForMovies

        I can agree with you on that level. Although I wasn’t as bored by the Matrix sequels as I was by the Transformers sequels. Transformers 2 & 3 had exactly the same plot beats as the first movie. Although the Matrix sequels failed to live up to the original I can at least give the Wachowski’s credit for trying to do something different. I thought the highway sequence from Reloaded was really impressive. But you’re right the sequels story didn’t have the intrigue of the first. It was a perfect standalone movie.

  • Tmacfan52

    Avatar was good, the problem was all these film snobs so goddamn afraid to admit they like something that make tons of money. Its ok to like something everyone else did guys. God I hate film snobs.

    • Romsy

      Actually, I’m perfectlt fine admitting to liking movies that make money. Jaws, Star Wars, Iron Man, The Lord of the Rings Franchise, Jurassic Park Dark Knight/ Rises, Avengers, Spider-Man 1/ 2, Inception, Gone with the Wind, Up etc. This has nothing to do with the fact that Avatar was a mediocre film with very good special effects. I didn’t hate it, but it’s not a good film, just an ok one.

      • Romsy


    • sccitylhh

      The story was certainly familiar and clunky at times, but that doesn’t negate Avatar being a fantastic feat of the imagination. We haven’t seen a computer rendered world that felt so exquisite and lived in since.

      • HumanityHater

        This. Avatar isn’t garbage like so many internet posters love to vent off about. The story was derivative. But if you somehow managed to not see the previous versions of the story, it is actually quite compelling. There are a million people online who saw critics point out it was derivative story and jumped on the ‘it has no story’ bandwagon. Lame. Derivative but well told (It was well told), is massively different from bad/no story.

      • sccitylhh

        Thanks for the addendum. Well said.

    • dogg

      You don’t have to be a film snob to know you’re watching a half billion dollar remake of Fern Gully. Cameron should forget about worrying about “Matrix” problems, and start worrying about “Avatar” problems.

      • Chad

        Ditto goes for The Matrix ripping off the comic book The Invisibles. You don’t have to be a film snob to know that, either. Not to mention Dune, which in turn ripped off the Bible… but The Matrix had to make it blatantly obvious for all the dumb people (Doubting Thomas?). Talk about a dumbed down, unimaginative film…

      • tarek

        No. The Matrix was a ripoff of Smulacron 3 by Daniel F. Galouye.

        Dune was inspired by the Greek tragedy The Atreides, mixed with some religious references taken from messianic christianism and Islamic figures.Many names are derived from the Arabic : mu’addib means “educator. Gom Jabbar where Jabbar means use coercion to force something. etc.


    Well, I just got back from seeing DREDD, and what an awesome fun night at the cinema it was. Dredd (along with films like District 9, children of men etc, proves that simplicity can make for a better movie!

    I enjoyed Avatar but that whole cgi bombastic blockbuster, (along with Transformers and Clash of titans, battleshit etc) are getting pretty boring to me.

    Would rather see 10 sequels to Judge Dredd than one more megablockbuster with lame PG13 battles and dialogue that grates the teeth.

    • DREDD

      In Avatars defense however (to those saying its a rip off storyline likke Dances with wolves etc) well, who cares about those similarities? Jurassic Park was just a rip off of Westworld and Frankenstein by that reckoning, but no one complained about that. In-fact LOTS of beloved films are clones of Frankenstein, from Edward scissor-hands to Splice. Most films share similarities to other older stories, even Lord of the Rings was a copy of Ring of the Niblungs.

    • DREDD

      Dredd got a 95% RT score! http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dredd_3d/
      never expected that!

  • Strong Enough

    Matrix Reloaded was a masterpiece and better than the first one. people are so used to having a nice fluffy ending love what they did at the end.

  • Northern Star

    The problem with ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ was not how it ended, but how said ending was handled; something clearly wasn’t firing on all cylinders on that production, as it ended up a somewhat clunky, often meandering, badly paced, and indulgent film that should have soared rather than merely chug along…

  • spongefist

    It’s an easy solution. Just don’t make another one.

    If A2 could in anyway be worse than A1 I think the world might simply wobble of it’s axis in despair !

  • DES

    I hear there is a PA job opening on Avatar 2 and 3. Christopher Nolan just applied for it. I hope he gets it. It’ll teach him something or two about filmmaking from the real and only Master of films.

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  • sd

    Please, Mr. Cameron… STOP MAKING MOVIES!! Your time is over.

    • MadMatt

      Please, sd, STOP MAKING COMMENTS!! Your time is over.

    • tarek

      Please sd, stop breathing. it is vital for your health.

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