The production journey of James Cameron’s years-in-the-making “Avatar” sequels has been about as ambitious a saga as the films themselves. But 13 years after “Avatar” became the highest grossing movie of all time, its first sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” is finally hitting theaters this December.
While the as-yet unnamed third “Avatar” feature is also wrapped and due in 2024 after being filmed back-to-back with “Way of Water,” Cameron recently revealed that No. 3 may be his last time visiting Pandora. He is considering handing off the directing reins to another filmmaker for the proposed fourth and fifth installments.
“The Avatar films themselves are kind of all-consuming,” Cameron told Empire. “I’ve got some other things I’m developing as well that are exciting. I think eventually over time – I don’t know if that’s after three or after four – I’ll want to pass the baton to a director that I trust to take over, so I can go do some other stuff that I’m also interested in. Or maybe not. I don’t know.”
It wouldn’t be the first time the Oscar-winning “Titanic” filmmaker has passed his creations to another director. After writing and directing “Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” in 1984 and 1991, respectively, Jonathan Mostow directed the third film, “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” in 2001. Cameron didn’t come back to the franchise as a producer until 2019’s “Terminator: Dark Fate.” He’s also successfully jumped into existing franchises, taking over the 1986 sequel to Ridley Scott’s “Alien.”
Still, Cameron teased that the proposed fourth “Avatar” film is one that he really wants to tackle himself, “market forces” pending.
“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,” he said of the film series. “I got more excited as I went along. Movie four is a corker. It’s a motherf—er. 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.”