KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water is not just a sequel to the 2009 blockbuster film but the beginning of a much bigger franchise.
According to Cameron, there will be not just one, but three more Avatar films in the pipeline. Some scenes for the third and fourth movies were shot simultaneously during the filming of Avatar: The Way of Water.
The Titanic director revealed the reason he chose to shoot all the films at once in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Cameron wanted his franchise to avoid what he called the ‘Stranger Things effect’, when child actors grow up so fast in between installments that eventually they stop resembling children.
He was referring to two of the younger actors, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss (who plays Tuk) who was seven years old when cast and now is 13 as well as Jack Champion (Spider) who was 12 when cast and is now 18.
He added that because “Champion was growing like a weed”, the second, third and first act of the fourth movie had to be done in one production.
“Otherwise, you get — and I love Stranger Things — but you get the Stranger Things effect, where they’re supposed to still be in high school (but) they look like they’re 27.
“You know, I love the show. It’s okay, we’ll suspend disbelief. We like the characters,” Cameron said.
He added that they also delayed filming the sequels until the scripts for Avatar 2, Avatar 3, Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 were finished.
He previously told Collider that the method was similar to what was done by acclaimed director Peter Jackson during the shooting of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“But he had the books mapped out, so he could always show the actors what they needed to know about their character arc.
“So I felt I had to do the same thing. I had to play this as if the books already existed. So the only way for us to do that was to write all the scripts and let the actors read all the scripts and see where their characters were going and what it all meant.
“Not that that’s actable at the moment, but I think it’s something that the actors could work into their preparation for their characters,” he said.
Avatar: The Way of Water is now showing in cinemas while the third film is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2024.