The sequels to Avatar have been so long in the making, it’s hard to believe they’ll ever see the light of day. What started off as two sequels to make an Avatar trilogy was then expanded to three movies, and then finally four.
That development process, along with the technological innovations that director James Cameron has been inventing to make the sequels, has created a seven-year-plus gap — and counting. That long time in between films makes some people wonder if audiences have moved on. One person who isn’t worried is Cameron himself.
In a recent interview with CNN, where he was speaking about Disney World’s Pandora: The World of Avatar expansion, he revealed why he isn’t concerned with the time between movies.
It 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.
It’s really hard to gauge whether Cameron is right or not. So I’m breaking the rest of this article into why I think he may be wrong, and why I think he could be right.
Why Cameron Might Be Wrong
Sure, there were seven-year gaps between Terminator and Alien installments, but there is a critical difference between those franchises and Avatar. When those movies came out, they instantly became part of pop culture in ways that Avatar has failed to. Even the certainty of three more films after Avatar 2, it begs the question of whether audiences even care enough about returning to that world for that fact to have any effect.
Why Cameron Might Be Right
Having said all of that, we don’t know what Cameron is cooking. I’m still of the opinion that Avatar is a visually spectacular but forgettable movie, story-wise. However, lets take into account that Cameron has a pretty good track record for elevating sequels in ways that audiences couldn’t expect. When people talk about Terminator, they’re almost always certainly talking about Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and not the original.
So what does this all mean? Basically, we have no real idea what the next films will be about, other than they will be dealing with the next generation of Na’vi. The success of the next movies will be very dependent on whether the story is any good.
Avatar 2 will premiere in theaters on December 18, 2020.