James Cameron is known for directing the Avatar films and creating the immersive fictional world of Pandora — but even the Titanic director can’t guarantee that the fourth and fifth movies in his vision are going to actually make it to audiences.
Many unbelievable feats have already been achieved for the first Avatar sequel: Kate Winslet broke a record for underwater breathing that Tom Cruise had held while filming a Mission: Impossible movie in order to play her character in this new film, and Sigourney Weaver is playing a teenager even though she is 72 — and even though she already played a character in the first movie.
Bringing an actress back for a new role and training another actress to hold her breath for over seven minutes are already accomplishments that should make Avatar: The Way of Water a big hit, but nothing is certain until audiences head to theaters (or don’t).
James Cameron recently told Empire that the third Avatar movie is done, so it should theoretically be a lock, but four and five still have an uncertain future. The director’s passion for the movies is palpable; “I got more excited as I went along”, he said, talking about the franchise’s progression. “Everything I need to say about family, about sustainability, about climate, about the natural world, the themes that are important to me in real life and in my cinematic life, I can say on this canvas”.
Zoe Saldana has supposedly filmed scenes as Neytiri already for the fourth film, and Sigourney Weaver had already implied that she’d been filming scenes for the fifth movie, too (presumably as her new character Kiri instead of Dr. Grace Augustine)– so if Avatar 4 and 5 don’t happen, that’s a lot of time and money wasted for everyone involved!
Hopefully, the second and third films will do well enough in theaters that the higher-ups in the studio behind the movies will be convinced to move forward — because according to Cameron, “movie four is a corker”. “It’s a mother[expletive],” he added. “I actually hope I get to make it. But it depends on market forces. Three is in the can so it’s coming out regardless. I really hope that we get to make four and five because it’s one big story, ultimately.”
Even if audiences get to be immersed in Pandora for a total of five films, James Cameron might not direct the last two. According to him, they are too “all-consuming” and make it hard for him to do other projects — even though they’re his metaphorical baby. Are you holding out for five movies instead of three?