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Avatar 2

James Cameron feared that Avatar 2 might have taken too long to complete.

Director of Titanic and Terminator 2 talks about the lengthy time between his 2009 success and its sequel, The Way of Water.


You have to assume the studio behind a movie would want to cash in right away when it earns almost $3 billion at the global box office. Release a sequel as soon as possible. When the iron is hot, strike. James Cameron, the creator of Avatar, is not that kind of person. He doesn’t move too quickly. Even so, he acknowledges that the 13-year gap between 2009’s blockbuster and its sequel Avatar: The Way of Water in December did cause him a small amount of concern.


In our fast-paced, modern society, with Avatar 2 arriving 12 years later, I was a little worried that I had stretched the cord too long, Cameron told the New York Times. Right up until the teaser trailer was released and we received 148 million views in 24 hours. There is the principle of “Wow, we haven’t seen that in a while, but I remember how great that was back then,” which states, “There is the rare seen but wondered about principle. Cameron went on. Does that work to our advantage? I’m not sure. I suppose we will find out.


Long gaps between sequels are nothing new to Cameron. In the same interview, he notes that Aliens was created seven years after the original movie and is regarded as one of the best sequels ever. Seven years after the first film, he also produced Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which not only is regarded as one of the best sequels ever but also significantly outperformed the first film in terms of box office success. Therefore, even though he was initially concerned about Avatar 2, he did have some evidence that waiting and doing it right may work. In his opinion, a [Avatar] sequel that was released two years later would have failed because viewers couldn’t connect with the actors or the story’s direction.


Cameron, though, hasn’t produced a flat-out “bomb” in 40 years. His record is essentially unrivalled. We must thus assume that after more than a decade of effort on this film, his care and confidence are at an all-time high. The cultural influence of Avatar, which pales in comparison to the other major blockbusters of its era, is one area he was unable to address during that period. Despite almost $3 billion in revenue, there aren’t many items on the stores, quotes in everyday language, or even many incredibly bold cosplayers. It will be incredibly fascinating to see whether the movie is a success—and if so, how successful—and whether the wait will win over a new generation of viewers. Then there is the follow-up, however all the other Avatar sequels will be released far more quickly than this one. Avatar 3 will be released in December 2024, while parts 4 and 5 will follow two years later. Could that wait have been too short? The future? James Cameron, maybe.


This weekend, the first Avatar movie is returning to theatres for those who need a refresher. On December 16, Avatar: The Way of Water debuts.


Want to learn more about io9? Check out the release dates for the most recent Marvel and Star Wars movies, the next DC Universe movies and TV shows, and all the details on House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Himanshu Mahawar

Himanshu Mahawar is the Editor and Founder at Flaunt Weekly.

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