Avatar 2 producer says scripts delayed Avatar sequels, not tech

Avatar: The Way of the Water was a notoriously delayed project. Writer-director James Cameron has announced the sequel to his 2009 hit for the first time Avatar in 2010, with the aim of releasing it in 2014 and following up with a third Avatar movie in 2015. But each time the release date got closer, Cameron would announce another delay, postponing releases for another year – or many. And this whole release schedule jump happened before the COVID-19 pandemic halted production and made lengthy movie delays and schedule shuffles commonplace.

The reasons given for the delays have often been vague. Cameron spoke about the “logistical and technical elements” involved in making several sequel films, especially after it was announced that two more sequels would follow. Avatar 3, for a total of five films. And the complexities of filming Avatar: The Way of the Water, as seen in the first behind-the-scenes footage, suggests unusual levels of production difficulty on the film.

But in a recent interview with Polygon, Avatar and Avatar: The Way of the Water Producer Jon Landau says the production and release delays weren’t primarily driven by the stakes of bringing the aquatic Na’vi and their detailed whale friends to life.

“We didn’t have to wait here for technology,” he said. “I think the first Avatar proved to us that we could be the impetus to push technology where we needed to go.

Instead, he says, the delays came about because the film crew was determined to get scripts for all four planned projects. Avatar sequels written and finalized before filming on Avatar 2 even started.

“We felt this project was about telling the story well,” he said. “You would never build a house until you had the blueprint to build from. Scripts are that blueprint. So we wanted to wait until all four were there.

This decision may have been related to the casting of the child actors who serve as the main protagonists in Avatar: The Way of the Water. The film continues the story of Space Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who takes on the avatar body of a Na’vi, a 10-foot felinoid native to the planet Pandora, and ends up taking on a Na’i wife. ‘vi local, Neytiri ( Zoe Saldaña) as a companion. But in The way of the water, the focus is partly on their biological children, Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss); their adopted teenage daughter, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver); and the children’s young human friend, Spider (Jack Champion).

Former human Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in his Na'vi form angrily addresses his Na'vi family - Tsireya (Bailey Bass), Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) and Lo'ak ( Britain Dalton) in a scene from Avatar: The Waterway

Image: 20th Century Studios

It seems likely that Avatar 3 – which was shot back to back with The way of the water — will continue the threads of history left open at the end of Avatar 2and that Avatar 4 will first continue the children’s story, then jump back in time to their adulthood. Cameron confirmed that the “first act” of Avatar 4 has already been filmed, although there is no guarantee that the story will continue after the third film. Landau teased the reasons:

“It turned out there were logistical reasons why we needed to shoot not just movie two and movie three, but the first act of part four now. We were looking forward to doing it later,” he said. “So we wanted to put all of that in place. And then we felt we could be the impetus again to push technology to tell those stories.

Landau confirms that “Sully’s Children” will be the focus of the Avatar films and the way to introduce new generations to new settings in Pandora, such as the coastal area where much of The way of the water takes place.

“They are in many ways our gateway to this new world of Pandora that we’re going into,” he said. ” It’s a family story. But it’s not just told from the parents’ point of view. It is also told from the perspective of children – children struggling to find their place in life. One of them feels like an outcast. Another wonders what her origins are, where she even comes from. These are things that people struggle with today – it makes them accessible. It was the Sully children with whom we had our first swimming experience, at the reef. We see it through their eyes. And now, as we progress through the films, we will grow with them as we move forward in the saga.

Avatar: The Way of the Water is in theaters now. The third movie is slated for release in December 2024, with Movies 4 and 5 slated for release in 2026 and 2028, respectively.

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