James Cameron's Avatar was a game-changing milestone for the industry, arriving in 2009 to usher in a new era of digital 3D effects work. Avatar (despite its many, many, critics) became a major cultural phenomenon - to the point that now, nearly eight years later, the film is getting a major theme park attraction in the form of Pandora: World of Avatar.
Since the Disney World attraction is set to open during this Memorial Day weekend, James Cameron is out and about doing press and promotion for the park. As always, the subject of his four planned Avatar sequels came up - starting with the long-delayed Avatar 2.
So how is James Cameron explaining the delay of Avatar 2, and will it effect the film's chances at the box office? Read on to see what the Oscar-winning filmmaker had to say.
Speaking with CNN, Cameron addressed the concern of whether the long delay between Avatar and Avatar had eroded the brand's vitality. As Cameron tells it, Avatar has nothing to worry about as a franchise, once fans get a look at the sequel.
As Cameron points out when asked if Avatar has lost its brand potential: "Well it didn't hurt 'Avatar,' that there was no 'Avatar' before 'Avatar.' So I kind of rest my case."
The acclaimed filmmaker went even further, pointing to other famous sequels he made early in his career as examples of how big time gaps don't erode a brand; in some cases, quite the opposite:
"[There] was a seven year gap between 'The Terminator' and 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day,' seven year gap between 'Alien' and 'Aliens.' It's gonna be obviously more like a ten year gap between 'Avatar' and 'Avatar 2.' But 'Avatar 2' you are going to with not the promise, but the certainty of three more films beyond that, and that's a very different concept with the audience. And a lot of the delay has been around creating that overall vision."
While it's certainly debatable how popular (or not) the Avatar brand is these days, Cameron does have the examples of history on his side. Both Aliens and T2: Judgement Day are now revered classics, which both came many years after some landmark original entries.
If you can't tell from those specific examples (plus the other quote), Cameron is basically finding a nice, empirical way of saying: the extensive time it takes him to create doesn't mean a d*mn thing if he's innovating one-of-kind cinematic experiences.
Time will tell if that well-earned boast holds true for Avatar 2.
SYNOPSIS: When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge's intentions of driving off the native humanoid "Na'vi" in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland.
In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na'vi people with the use of an "avatar" identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand - and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox