Fans of James Cameron’s earlier work (the first two Terminator films, Aliens, The Abyss, True Lies) have been waiting patiently for 15 years for the mercurial director to return to non-Avatar filmmaking, as not all of us have been fans of his Dances with Ferngully the Last Rainforest CGI extravaganza. Well, Cameron fans, you’re in for something of a wait (like, forever): Cameron has announced he’ll only be making Avatar sequels in the future, and is already planning on moving beyond the already-announced Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 to film Avatar 4.
Fans hoping to finally see the long-gestating Battle Angel, or Cameron’s film about the atomic bombing of Japan at the close of World War II are sure to be disappointed, as are those who were never wowed by Cameron’s original Avatar film. Cameron, however, is pushing forward, and recently announced that due to splitting his time between documentary filmmaking, record-breaking scientific exploration, and the world (and technology) building of the Avatar films, he will no longer be making non-Avatar films:
I’ve divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. I’ve made two movies in 16 years, and I’ve done eight expeditions. Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the “Avatar” business. Period. That’s it. I’m making “Avatar 2,” “Avatar 3,” maybe “Avatar 4,” and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts. And that all sounds I suppose a little bit restricted, but the point is I think within the “Avatar” landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way. And anything I can’t say in that area, I want to say through documentaries, which I’m continuing. I’ve done five documentaries in the last 10 years, and I’ll hopefully do a lot more.
It’s a game plan that makes sense, considering how long it takes to make a single Avatar film, along with the time consuming nature of Cameron’s extracurricular interests. The guy is 57 years old, and only has so much time left. That said, it’s unfortunate for fans of Cameron who simply don’t want to spend the next 20 years revisiting the world of Avatar over and over again. But at this point, Cameron has donated so much time, effort and money into creating the technology that allowed Avatar to happen, and appears to simply be wanting to protect his investment at this point.
We’ve spent the last year and a half on software development and pipeline development. The virtual production methodology was extremely prototypical on the first film. As then, no one had ever done it before and we didn’t even know for two and half years into it and $100 million into it if it was going to work. So we just wanted to make our lives a whole lot easier so that we can spend a little more of our brainpower on creativity. It was a very, very uphill battle on the first film. So we’ve been mostly working on the tool set, the production pipeline, setting up the new stages in Los Angeles, setting up the new visual effects pipeline in New Zealand, that sort of thing. And, by the way, writing. We haven’t gotten to the design stage yet. That’ll be the next.
So prepare yourself for about two decades worth of Avatar films in the future. Yay?
What do you think of Cameron’s decision?