James Cameron Likens Avatar To The Lord Of The Rings
"That was great in theory, but then I had to go create the frickin' novels from which to adapt it."
Writer-director James Cameron has dished new details on his Avatar movie series, saying in an interview that the plan from the beginning was to tell a "bigger story." He likened the Avatar series to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which Peter Jackson adapted into three movies.
Cameron's plan is to make five Avatar films, but whether or not parts four and five ever get made is uncertain right now. In any event, he spoke to Empire about his initial conversations with the higher-ups at Fox, which greenlit the Avatar series.
"What I said to the Fox regime at the time was, 'I'll do it, but we've got to play a larger game here. I don't want to just do a movie and do a movie and do a movie. I want to tell a bigger story,'" he said. "I said, 'Imagine a series of novels like The Lord Of The Rings existed, and we're adapting them.' Now, that was great in theory, but then I had to go create the frickin' novels from which to adapt it."
Avatar 2, which is officially called The Way Of Water, releases in December. Avatar 3, which was filmed back-to-back with The Way Of Water, is scheduled for release in 2024. Whether or not the next two Avatars get made depends on how well Avatar 2 and 3 perform in theaters. And if they make enough money to warrant further sequels, Cameron might let someone else direct them.
Also in the interview, Cameron said he had to spend a good amount of time thinking about whether or not he even wanted to make one Avatar sequel, let alone four. "Because it was kind of ours to lose," he said. "When you've done something that's been that transcendent in terms of success, do you really want to go try and do that again? There's a lot of pressure on it. I thought about it for a good two years before we finally made a deal."
2009's Avatar is the highest-grossing movie of all time, bringing in $2.847 billion. It was briefly surpassed by Avengers: Endgame ($2.797 billion) but Avatar's re-release in China helped it surpass the big Marvel movie. Avatar is returning to cinemas in America and other parts of the world in September, so its box office results are poised to grow even further still ahead of The Way Of Water.
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