And then there were 4.
When director James Cameron first announced there’d be more Avatar movies, his scope was “limited” to two more sequels, produced simultaneously. Then he bumped it up to three sequels. Now comes the latest announcement that there will be four Avatar sequels, all helmed by Cameron himself, making five Avatars total (a Cinctology?!)
By the time they’re done, Avatar will account for nearly half of James Cameron’s 12-film career.
So why the obsession with sequels? Potential profit, obviously, but I think this goes beyond the conventional wisdom of churning out money-grabs . James Cameron is turning himself into a one-man Marvel or a DC. He’s not just making sequels. He’s the mastermind of the Avatar Extended Universe.
Granted, Cameron’s not using the “Universe” moniker that has become so common (and coveted – even Hanna Barbara is formulating a cinematic universe for their library of characters). But he did say the following during his 4-sequel announcement:
“We’re making four epic films that stand alone but, together, form a saga.”
That sounds less like the sequelitis of direct episodic continuation and more like Universe Building. It won’t be one straight ongoing story, but rather a series of stories and characters that are all interconnected in a larger, well, Pandoraverse.
He went on to say, “I’ve been working with the top four screenwriters and designers in the world to design the world of Avatar going forward. The environments, new cultures, whatever it takes to live. From what I’m seeing, the art on the wall …in pure imagination is just beyond the first film. I’m speechless.”
James, I think we all are.
Avatar 2 is scheduled to be released during the holiday season of 2018. Then 3, 4, and 5 will follow in 2020, 2022, and 2023.