It’s been a long 13 years since James Cameron released Avatar, and became the highest-grossing movie of all time, which had to top another Cameron film, Titanic, to take the crown. Now, the director is back with a sequel a decade in the making, accepting the fact there might only be one left. There’s a lot banking on this film and even Cameron is playing the wait-and-see game with audience reaction when it drops next month.
Talking to GQ about the ins and outs of the psychology of the Avatar sequels, especially the upcoming Way of Water, Cameron talked about the origins of the Avatar and how it came in a dream to him when he was 19.
“I woke up after dreaming of this kind of bioluminescent forest with these trees that look kind of like fiber-optic lamps and this river that was glowing bioluminescent particles and kind of purple moss on the ground that lit up when you walked on it. And these kinds of lizards that didn’t look like much until they took off,” Cameron said. “And then they turned into these rotating fans, kind of like living Frisbees, and they come down and land on something. It was all in the dream. I woke up super excited and I actually drew it. So I actually have a drawing.”
That drawing, he said, saved him from about 10 lawsuits. He went on to explain that with any successful film, there will always be some people with “tinfoil under their wig” that think he stole their idea.
“So I pointed at this drawing I did when I was 19, when I was going to Fullerton Junior College, and said, ‘See this? See these glowing trees? See this glowing lizard that spins around, that’s orange? See the purple moss?’ And everybody went away.” Cameron also said that The Terminator came to him in a dream as well as did the scene in Aliens, his second feature, when Ripley finds herself in a silent room full of alien eggs and turns around to see the alien queen.
While studio executives feel like it will be an easy task to have the audience embrace the world of Pandora again, he still understands that these movies are grossly expensive and shouldn’t be viewed as a great business model for filmmaking.
Avatar: The Way of Water hits theaters on December 16.
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