Since the release of Avatar: The Way Of Water’s trailer earlier this year, a discussion online has been brewing: Does anyone even really care about the first Avatar? Well, word has gotten around to filmmaker and lover of all things water James Cameron, who has had enough of the naysayers ignoring Avatar’s importance in the zeitgeist.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the director discussed the conversations around the record-breaking film, citing that Avatar’s cultural impact will grow with time and as more movies come out building on that world.
“There’s skepticism in the marketplace around, ‘Oh, did it ever make any real cultural impact?’” Cameron said. “‘Can anybody even remember the characters’ names?’”
“When you have extraordinary success, you come back within the next three years,” he added. “That’s just how the industry works. You come back to the well, and you build that cultural impact over time. Marvel had maybe 26 movies to build out a universe, with the characters cross-pollinating. So it’s an irrelevant argument. We’ll see what happens after this film.”
Though you won’t see Cameron plotting out an Avatar multiverse in the future, there’ll be enough Pandora lore to fill up two future sequel films. Avatar 3 has finished filming and is scheduled for a 2024 release date, with Avatar 4's first act already completed. Even with the future of the franchise seemingly planned out, Cameron noted to THR that any sequels beyond The Way Of Water will depend on its success with audiences and the box office (which apparently needs to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film ever just to break even).
“We’ll probably finish movie three regardless because it’s all shot,” Cameron told the outlet. “We’d have to really crater for it not to seem like it was worth the additional investment. We’d have to leave a smoking hole in the ground. Now, hopefully, we get to tell the whole thing because five’s better than four, four’s better than three, and three’s better than two.”
We’ll wait and see if five Avatar films are enough to prove Pandora’s culture staying power (or if three films will get the job done) when Avatar: The Way Of Water releases in theaters December 15.
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