James Cameron spent at least a year of the 13-year gap between 2009 Avatar and 2022 Avatar: The Way of the Water writing an entire screenplay which he eventually threw away. The terminator and Titanic filmmaker – who returns to the world of Pandora and the home of the Na’vi in the first of four planned sequels – reveals he’s “started over” on Avatar 2finally slated to hit theaters on December 16th. In an interview with The Times UKCameron explained that the long wait was because he was unhappy with the script (and because he was “exploring the depths of the ocean for a while”).
“When I sat down with my writers to begin Avatar 2, I said we can’t do the next one until we understand why the first one worked so well. We have to crack the code of what happened,” Cameron said, noting that “all movies work on different levels.”
“The first is the surface, which is the character, the problem and the resolution. The second is thematic. What is the film trying to say? But Avatar also works on a third level, the subconscious,” Cameron explained. “I wrote an entire script for the sequel, read it, and realized it didn’t reach level three. Boom. Restart. It took a year.”
In a previous interview with The Marianne Williamson PodcastCameron said he believes it was this third level – the audience’s desire to be transported into the world of Pandora – that propelled Avatar become the most successful film in history.
“There was also a tertiary level…it was a dreamlike feeling of a desire to be there, to be in that space, to be somewhere safe and where you wanted to be,” Cameron said. “Whether it’s flying, that feeling of freedom and elation, or whether it’s being in the forest where you can feel the earth. It was a sensory thing that communicated on such a deep level. It was spirituality of the first movie.”
During the presentation of the first 3D sequences of Avatar: The Way of the Water at Disney’s CinemCon presentation earlier this year, Cameron said he’d spent more than a decade perfecting what would be a “must-have cinematic experience.”
“With the first Avatar, we decided to push the boundaries of the big screen. With the new Avatar movies, we’re pushing those boundaries even further,” Cameron said, “with 3D, with high dynamic range, with high frame rate, higher resolution, and much greater reality in our visual effects”.
Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of the Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri and their children), the troubles that follow them, the efforts they make to protect themselves, the battles they fight to stay alive and the tragedies that they endure.
Directed by James Cameron and produced by Cameron and Jon Landau, the film stars Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement and Kate Winslet. Avatar: The Way of the Water only opens in theaters December 14 internationally and December 16 in the US