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James Cameron Prepared to Wrap Up ‘Avatar’ Franchise if ‘Way of Water’ Doesn’t Connect: ‘How Many People Give a S– Now?’

The sequels could be cut short

With the “Avatar: The Way of Water” Christmas release date quickly approaching, we are entering into the first phase of an ambitious press tour that has to both remind people of why we loved “Avatar” (um, because it is amazing) and get them excited about the sequel.

And leading the charge, of course, is writer-director James Cameron, an opinionated filmmaker known for his unfiltered commentary. And in the new issue of Total Film (via /Film), he opens up in typically candid fashion about being very ready to abandon the franchise if “The Way of Water” doesn’t succeed, even though his masterplan had him working on movies through a fifth film.

“The market could be telling us we’re done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: ‘OK, let’s complete the story within Movie 3, and not go on endlessly,’ if it’s just not profitable,” Cameron told the magazine. “We’re in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even. It’s the one-two punch — the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theater is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is: how many people give a s— now?”

That is the question James Cameron!

Set more than a decade after the events of the first “Avatar,” the sequel sees Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) overseeing a brood of Na’vi kiddos who once again come under threat from the evil corporation RDA and must band together with a tribe of water people to defend their home.

Almost everybody is back from the first film, including those that died off, like Sigourney Weaver (now playing a young Na’vi girl) and Stephen Lang, whose villainous Quaritch has been brought back to life by RDA as a Recombinant – an Avatar with human memories. Things are going to get interesting!

Cameron will find out if anybody cares when “Avatar: The Way of Water” opens on Dec. 16.