Jon Landau on When to Expect an Avatar Sequel


Earlier this evening, was invited to get a sneak preview of the new Blu-ray release of James Cameron’s Avatar on April 22. Before that, we were able to sit down with producer Jon Landau for him to field some of our questions about the release and some of the technical aspects of making the movie. We’ll run that interview next week, but as a preview, we wanted to share Landau’s response when asked about the pressures to produce the much-rumored Avatar sequel, given the success of the movie on so many levels.

“Look, I think one of the things that we have been successful at is that the most pressure we feel is our own pressure,” he told us. “I think that’s true as we make a movie, whether it be ‘Titanic’ or ‘Avatar.’ Our pressure about an ‘Avatar’ sequel is self-imposed. We’ve always said that if the public wanted a sequel that we would do a sequel. That having been said, in my opinion, Jim has done two sequels in his career, and both times, he has at least equaled if not surpassed the original movie. We’re only going to do it when we have a piece of material, a script, that we believe will be at least as entertaining and unique as the first movie was.”

Then again, once they get that material–and Landau agreed that the possibilities for a sequel are somewhat endless–making a sequel will likely be a lot easier than it was to make the first movie. “Not only that, but the hard part is out of the way. We figured out how to do it, and our goal in the next one is to do it more cost-effectively and more time-efficiently, and we have kept on a team of our technical staff who is working right now on Gen 2 of what we did, but with all the experience that we’ve had. We kept them on, and they’re working for us right now.”

Over the next few months, Landau and Cameron will be overseeing production on the supplementary materials for the four-disc ultimate edition Avatar Blu-ray out in November, many of which will appear in the months between releases through “The Avatar Program,” which will allow those who buy the initial DVD release exclusive access to the materials at

Eventually, the Blu-ray will include a brand-new two-hour documentary on making Avatar and unused extra scenes from the movie, including more on the Na’vi school run by Sigourney Weaver and on Jake’s training as an Avatar. With that in mind, we wondered how much time Cameron might have to start developing new material.

“The good news is that we have systems and methodologies in place that will not consume a lot of Jim’s time,” Landau said. “I think Jim’s time will be surgical coming in. We have a very good behind-the-scenes crew working on this two-hour documentary we want to put together – Jim’s not doing it himself. We have Weta Digital working on these shots, but our animation supervisor is now our visual FX supervisor, so he’ll take all of this to a certain point and then Jim will be able to come in, but hopefully, he’ll be able to go off and do some other stuff. There are a small number of movies that Jim wants to (direct) himself, but he doesn’t want to say that he can do things that he’s not going to have time for, and we know that whatever movie he does is not going to be done in six months.”

In the meantime, Avatar is released on Blu-ray and DVD on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, but if you haven’t had a chance to see it in IMAX 3D, it’s also reopening in select cities this weekend. Look for our full interview with Jon Landau sometime next week.