For his new documentary series James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, premiering on Monday, April 30 on AMC, the filmmaker talked to the press about the show and the upcoming Avatar sequels and more.
According to Deadline, he said the sequels will be more like a family drama. “So it’s The Godfather. Obviously a very different genre [and] a very different story, but I got intrigued by that idea, so that’s really what it is. It’s a generational family saga very different than the first film. Now, it’s the same type of settings and the same sort of respect for that shock of the new that we want to show you things that not only that you haven’t seen, but you haven’t imagined. It’s a continuation of the same characters, but what happens when warriors, willing to go on suicide charges and leap off cliffs on to the backs of big orange Toruks, grow up and have their own kids. Now the kids are the change makers. It’s interesting. Everyone is either a parent or they had parents at the very least. If you look at the big successful franchises now they are pretty much uninterested in it. So this could be the seeds of utter damnation and doom for the project or could be the thing that makes it stand apart and continue to be unique. Nobody knows until you make the movie and put it out. Anyone who thinks this is easy or they are just printing money over there at the Avatar studio, it doesn’t work that way.”
Speaking of other franchises, Cameron hopes that Avengers fatigue will set in soon. He said, according to Indiewire, “Not that I don’t love the movies. It’s just, come on guys, there are other stories to tell besides hyper-gonadal males without families doing death-defying things for two hours and wrecking cities in the process. It’s like, oy!”
He also mentioned the new Terminator movie that will be directed by Tim Miller and produced by Cameron. “We are looking at it differently than when I wrote the first story in 1982. That was just a classic sort of ‘technology bad, smart computers bad’ kind of thing. It’s got to be a much more nuanced perspective now I think, and hopefully we’ll show that ‘smart computers bad but…’ is the new motif,” he laughed.
Returning for the Avatar sequels are Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, Stephen Lang, Matt Gerald and Sigourney Weaver. Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis and Oona Chaplin are also joining the sequels. Cameron recently explained that Stephen Lang’s Colonel Miles Quaritch is coming back for all four sequels and will be the main villain throughout the story. Filming officially started on Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 on September 25, 2017. Shortly after, James Cameron announced young cast members for the sequel, which include the Sully family and children from the Metkayina Na’vi clan who live near ocean reefs, led by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis). The only actor who will appear in live-action playing a non-CGI character is Jack Champion as Javier “Spider” Socorro, a human teen born at the Hell’s Gate military complex seen in the first film.
20th Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment previously announced release dates for the four Avatar sequels. Avatar 2 will be coming to theaters on December 18, 2020, and will be followed by Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021. Filming will then begin on Avatar 4 and Avatar 5, which will be released on December 20, 2024 and December 19, 2025, with Cameron’s caveat that they won’t make 4 and 5 if 2 and 3 aren’t successful.
Released in 2009, the first Avatar film remains the highest-grossing film worldwide with over $2.7 billion in box office grosses. Titanic was previously the record holder with $2.186 billion worldwide.
For Story of Science Fiction, sat down with Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Christopher Nolan (Inception), Steven Spielberg (Ready Player One), Keanu Reeves (The Matrix), Ridley Scott (Blade Runner), Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), George Lucas (Star Wars), Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop) and Zoe Saldana (Avatar).