Avatar: James Cameron Says He Threatened to Fire Sequel Writers

James Cameron explains how he actually threatened to fire the Avatar sequel writers. It's been a long road to this point for the franchise. With years passing in between the first movie and the second entry. The director sat down with Marianne Williamson to talk about the challenge of following up the highest-grossing movie in history. China has the film on screens again and people are wondering if that might stoke the fires under the sequels. For Cameron, this means going back to the first movie and finding everything that worked and the stuff that didn't. From there, he and the team could build a roadmap of what they wanted for the three sequels. However, the filmmaker shot down most of their attempts to dive into the new subject matter before really nailing down the tone of that initial film. Luckily, it sounds like none of them had to go, but it was probably a moment of clarity for the entire team.

"When I sat down to write the sequels, I knew there were going to be three at the time and eventually it turned into four, I put together a group of writers and said, 'I don't want to hear anybody's new ideas or anyone's pitches until we have spent some time figuring out what worked on the first film, what connected, and why it worked," he explained. "They kept wanting to talk about the new stories. I said, 'We aren't doing that yet.' Eventually, I had to threaten to fire them all because they were doing what writers do, which is to try and create new stories. I said, 'We need to understand what the connection was and protect it, protect that ember and that flame.'"

Years ago, producer Jon Landau gave fans an update on how the film was progressing. It seems like everything is lining up for a smooth release. The coronavirus pandemic shouldn't have affected the movie's trajectory very much. So, it's probably a good thing that Avatar 2 is so CGI-heavy because the situation left a lot of productions scrambling.

"We're well into production," Landau explained. "We've completed our performance capture with Sam [Worthington] and Zoe [Saldana] and Stephen Lang and Cliff Curtis and Sigourney Weaver and a great group of young kids. We've been capturing not just on a stage but in a 500,000-gallon water tank, below the water, above the water. Jim [Cameron] has written into the scripts all of the stuff that people would expect from an Avatar sequel. A story that completes itself, an emotional journey in a world like you've never seen."


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