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James Cameron Explains The Reason Behind The Long Wait For Avatar 2

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James Cameron Explains The Reason Behind The Long Wait For Avatar 2

More than 13 years after its record-breaking predecessor smashed box office records, Avatar's sequel will finally be coming to the big screen at the end of 2022.

So, just where the hell has it been? Well, we've finally been given an answer by none other than the movie's director himself.

Now, James Cameron's Avatar was undoubtedly a phenomenon upon its release in back 2009. Still the world record holder for global box office receipts - it briefly lost its crown to Avengers: Endgame before winning it back thanks to a 2021 Chinese cinema re-release - it's taken in a worldwide haul of $2.847 billion.

Not too shabby, I'd say.

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The first Avatar film came out all the way back in 2009 and continues to be a major global success. Credit: Twentieth Century Fox
The first Avatar film came out all the way back in 2009 and continues to be a major global success. Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

However, given that film took around 15 years from development to release, perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised that its follow-up has taken such a long time - and in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cameron opened up about the timeline that Avatar 2 is currently on.

Plans began for the sequel back in 2012 with a writing team joining Cameron the following years to outline four stories taking place once again in Pandora and reiterate the original's themes of man versus nature.

Filming on Avatar 2 then started in 2017 with a story set around 14 years after the original, with former human soldier Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Na'vi warrior Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) settling down and starting a family.

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As such, much of the new film will focus on their preteen offspring.

Filming for the sequel began back in 2017. Credit: Twitter/@officialavatar
Filming for the sequel began back in 2017. Credit: Twitter/@officialavatar

That's the standard film stuff, though. What's really made making Avatar 2 a herculean task has been the fact that it's set below sea level, which has presented a few challenges.

The performance-capture process of the original film doesn't work below water, so a new way had to be created to record the actor's movements and expressions while in the sea before it was animated.

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Apparently, much of the performance-capture filming took place in a specially built 900,000-gallon tank. It's worth noting too that it's being used not just for Avatar 2 but for follow-ups 3 and 4 as well.

A lot of Avatar 2 will be set in an underwater setting. Credit: Twitter/@officialavatar
A lot of Avatar 2 will be set in an underwater setting. Credit: Twitter/@officialavatar

A lot of cast members have become scuba-certified in order to do the filming and had to train with professional divers too so that they could free dive and hold their breath under the water for minutes at a time.

Cameron said that among the highlights of such training was the fact that 72-year-old Sigourney Weaver can now easily hold her breath for six and a half minutes, while new cast member Kate Winslet "blew everybody away when she did a seven-and-a-half-minute breath hold."

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Also speaking to Entertainment Weekly, though, producer Jon Landau said they were aiming even bigger with the follow ups.

Principal photography has already been completed for the third instalment, which is due in 2024, and the fourth and fifth movies are currently set for 2026 and 2028.

"What we are doing now, from a story standpoint and a world standpoint, is on a much larger scale," Landau said.

"That's both exciting and challenging. We are putting much more detail, first and foremost, into the performances of the cast, but we're [also] putting much more detail and diversity into the world that we are creating."

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@officialavatar

Topics: TV and Film

Simon Catling
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