Released in 2009 to rave critical reviews and unprecedented commercial success, Avatar, from director James Cameron, changed the landscape of blockbuster cinema indefinitely, bringing in a new era of 3D event filmmaking. Promising several sequels to his science-fiction epic, James Cameron has yet to reveal even a teaser trailer for his long-awaited sequel, with the film having been released over ten years ago.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Cameron has provided a significant update on the project, laughing at the sheer amount of time it has taken to bring a sequel to the silver screen. “It sounds kind of nuts, the process,” Cameron admits, before adding, “I mean, if Avatar hadn’t made so much damn money, we’d never do this — because it’s kind of crazy”.
Making $2.847 billion at the worldwide box office, Avatar remains the highest-grossing film of all time despite Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame giving it a good run for its money back in 2019. Beginning pre-production on the film by himself back in 2012, Cameron would later bring in a writing team in 2013 who would help him to map out the future of the franchise. Filming on Avatar 2 began in 2017, featuring a story set 14 years after the original where Jake (Sam Worthington) has settled down with the Na’vi warrior Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) with the two of them starting a family.
As producer Jon Landau explains, “Ultimately, the sequels are a story about family, and the lengths parents will go through to keep that family together and keep them safe”. Whilst the original Avatar film is set in the luscious forests of Pandora, the sequel is set to take place around its oceans, introducing a new clan of sea-dwellers named the Metkayina.
Cameron’s worry is “are we going to make any damn money?” however, with him and his team having already spent considerable money on the production of the sequel and pre-production of the following instalments. As the director concludes, “Big, expensive films have got to make a lot of money. We’re in a new world post-COVID, post-streaming. Maybe those [box office] numbers will never be seen again. Who knows? It’s all a big roll of the dice”.