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James Cameron Says 'Avatar' Sequels Aren't Like 'Matrix' Sequels

by
September 11, 2012
Source: Hero Complex

James Cameron

After James Cameron one-upped his own Titanic and firmly established his spot as the "king of the world" with the box office juggernaut that was Avatar, he's gone on record saying that he'll only be making Avatar films in the foreseeable future (along with the occasional exploration documentary). So what's the hold up? It took him twelve years to fully develop the technology that allowed him to make the first movie, and in a recent interview with the L.A. Times, Cameron revealed that he's taking his time writing the sequel scripts in order to avoid drawing comparisons to the Wachowski siblings' two Matrix sequels. Read on!

Cameron said that he was about to hole up in his "top secret writing cave" in order to finish the scripts for Avatar 2 and 3 before the end of this year, but the writing has been giving him a bit of hesitation.

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.

A fine line, indeed. I can't think of any project that was preconceived specifically as a back-to-back production in which the second movie doesn't feel like a blatant lead-in to the third film (Pirates 2, anyone?), but Cameron seems steadfast on making sure he doesn't fall prey to that trap with his Avatar films. Since the story for the first Avatar wasn't even close to the best part about that movie, this could prove to be the biggest challenge of the writer/director's career.

Those years working trial and error on the first film were spent without the scrutiny of fans and without the expectation of box office gold, so I'd imagine it was a bit easier than it is now where every decision he makes is covered breathlessly by the media. But those technical innovations weren't perfect, and Cameron is well aware of the tough realities of gearing up for another production.

It was this kludgy prototype the first time. 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.

Pre-production is set to begin in January for the sequels as soon as Cameron finishes the scripts. Avatar 2 likely won't be ready until 2015 at the earliest, and producer Jon Landau recently confirmed that only 2 and 3 will be shot back-to-back. The rumored fourth film, which is said to be a prequel, will probably be at least four or five years down the line, so we'll see if Cameron ends up making Battle Angel in between 3 and 4 or if he truly will remain only in the Avatar business.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Philip-Cinquegrano/100000932639147 Christopher Philip Cinquegrano
    Its too bad hes not putting his efforts into a Terminater or A good Alien movie again
    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.peloquin.14 Matt Peloquin
      Those franchises have run their course and Cameron has said that there isn't an original story left there to tell.
      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Philip-Cinquegrano/100000932639147 Christopher Philip Cinquegrano
        Just seems like the older these Directors get,(Cameron, Lucas, Ridley Scott), the more self absorbed they become.
        • http://www.facebook.com/matt.peloquin.14 Matt Peloquin
          I wouldn't call them self absorbed because they do put a lot of their money back into their production companies in order to mentor the younger generation of film makers and give them the money and direction they need to make their films a reality. I also think that Cameron is the king and you need to be a little bit of a dick when you get that high in Hollywood in order to stay true to your vision. Most film makers have to deal with studio notes and choose their battles, while the three film makers you mentioned have proved themselves in the industry and I guarantee they don't deal with executives fucking with their vision. This is probably why they seem self absorbed to you, they don't give a shit what people say or think about them and the product is far superior because of that attitude in my opinion.
          • http://www.facebook.com/matt.peloquin.14 Matt Peloquin
            proven*
          • axalon
            Well said
          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Philip-Cinquegrano/100000932639147 Christopher Philip Cinquegrano
            what i'm saying though is there making a movie or movies that doesn't hit with the auduience, the hype is there , the advertising is there but when u see some of these flicks now their more dissapointments than anything. I dunno about u guys but that robin hood movie was horrible from scott , an promethius dropped off the face of the earth now, we all know about the new SW trilogy. Their telling storys that interest them an not the moviegoers
          • http://www.facebook.com/matt.peloquin.14 Matt Peloquin
            That's subjective, but if you're only critique of them is that they stay true to their own personal vision then to me, that makes them great. I loved Prometheus, but Robin Hood was a bit of a miss so I agree with you there. I blame the writers strike for that one though as the script was originally titled "Nottingham" and based around the character of the Sheriff, but was re-written for a more traditional angle by a bunch of hacks.
        • beevis
          only difference between those 3 is RS keeps making movies worth watching.
      • axalon
        The irony in saying there isn't an original story left to tell when Avatar was probably the most derivative story in recent memory. Plus there is SO much material to mine for Terminator, I for one would love to see the war with the machines. Especially with today's tech.
        • http://www.facebook.com/matt.peloquin.14 Matt Peloquin
          I've had this debate many times over the past few years so I really don't want to have it again. Avatar was an original story, but it was a simple story so people jump on Cameron to say he stole it. I loved how he made the environment a separate character and to me that makes it a very unique film.
          • racquetman
            Bingo. Some people don't get it. They just repeat what some other guy says about it being derivative.
          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Sleider/1847907840 Brian Sleider
            Yeh very original, Dances with Wolves, in space with blue people. LOL the story was as unoriginal as they come.
          • steven
            The enviroment (in 3d for those that so it) is what made the film, not the story.
          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Sleider/1847907840 Brian Sleider
            The movie was good, acting solid(not top notch), the scope was impressive, the effects were MIND BLOWING. The plot, recruit man to move an indigenous group of people said man becomes personally invested in the group of people(in this case even falls in love with a woman of said peoples)Then chooses to abandon his previous charge and instead fight for those he was meant to move. That is Dances with Wolves.
          • Heck
            This story is actually Pochahontas... John Smith gets an in with the Cheifs Daughter... Falls in love with her but the two sides are fighting one another?? Come on man
          • axalon
            "Avatar was an original story" I don't even know how this is a debate, the story is very clearly 'Pocahontas' and 'Dances With Wolves' - in space. In fact if anything, Avatar is the poster-child for derivative story telling.
  • http://twitter.com/ItsTheRickShow Rick
    I find that good old Back to the Future II did a decent job of having an actual ending, but yet with a twist as well...
  • Steven
    Cameron is so far up his own over inflated @@@@, is he trying to say The Empire Strikes Back is bad.........or even The Dark Knight. Both those films have 'conclusions' and yet obviously lead towards a following sequel.
  • LosZombies
    I felt satisfied with the way The Two Towers ended. Perhaps he should follow that route. :)
  • Greg dinskisk
    I liked the second Matrix movie... Best of the three.
    • OfficialJab
      Me too. I hope you weren't being sarcastic, or I'll look a fool.
      • chad
        you gotta be fuckin kiddin me... 2nd and 3rd are children's movies bud
      • Greg dinskisk
        I was being serious, no worries! And @374f8307918557f80c6007518ecf1bb2:disqus, the issue with the first one is that despite an absolutely spectacular first two thirds, it ends with a stereotypical gunfight. That was my issue with District 9, too. The sequel is great all the way through.
  • DoomCanoe
    but the matrix 2 and 3 had better writing then avatar 1 so....
    • JBrotsis
      Good luck writing Avatar 2 and 3 since there wasn't a Pocahontas 2 and 3 to simply create new characters with and use the same storyboard.
      • Richi G
        There is a Pocahontas 2
    • max
      Even though those Matrix sequels were weak, yes, at least they had a more interesting story, dialogue, characters.
  • germss
    This dude needs to step back and make another, smaller movie that's not connected to Avatar. He's got the cinematic equivalent to cabin fever.
  • DamnDaddy1
    Always wished he would do a True Lies 2. Doesn't even have to be the same characters it would still be cool.
  • Chad
    It may just be me, but im a huge fan of the nuances that Cameron brings to his fims, the smallest details on everything, like the weapons in the movie have a manufactures logo, quaritch personal sidearm thats wayy too cool, stuff like that, not to mention his style for the marines and all the tech. also the contrast from the human to the pandora na'vi world, you can really feel it. great work.
    • max
      He needs to put more detail into the script. Otherwise it's just pretty pictures.
  • Edward
    Oh c'mon Cameron! make "Alita:Battle angel" for god sake! we are tired of blue tall creatures and boring Naavi culture...just read our comments if you like your fans...
  • Domino
    I'm sure he want to jump into the fucking sea after avatar 4 or 5 and starting to search under sea for his rest of life....
  • max
    The script for Avatar was awful, so I hope he's learned something since or got someone to help for the sequels (that I don't care about). Stick to the tech, Jimbo.
  • idiotland
    This whole thread is derivative and unoriginal. This move sucks, this story sucks, these direcors suck, blah blah blah blah.
    • max
      Must... resist... feeding... troll.

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