James Cameron Explains What Inspired Him To Make So Many Avatar Sequels

When a legendary filmmaker has dedicated the better part of the last several decades to one specific passion project, you just know that something inside must be driving them to keep revisiting this world until everything they need to say about it has been said. After firmly establishing his place in the history books, James Cameron has spent much of his adult life pursuing the dream of "Avatar" and turning the images in his head into an awe-inspiring reality. After 2009's "Avatar" lit the world on fire, broke box office records, and subsequently gave moviegoers a case of the "Avatar blues" (seriously, it was a whole thing), the "Aliens," "The Terminator" and "Titanic" director has ignored the skeptics out there and doggedly moved forward with not just one sequel, but multiple ones at the same time.

Everyone knows about his tireless efforts in the world of visual effects until modern technology could catch up to his vision, but a tech demo can't be the only thing motivating Cameron to see this enormously ambitious production (or productions, rather) through to the finish line ... can it?

In a recent virtual press conference timed for the upcoming theatrical rerelease of the original "Avatar" attended by /Film's Bill Bria, the cast was asked what they're proudest of about being involved in such a behemoth of a (soon-to-be) franchise. The beginning of Cameron's answer sheds plenty of light on his collaborative filmmaking approach.

"Looking back with the perspective of now, 12 years later, I guess I'm proudest in a general sense of the team ... there's the beauty that was created by the artists, the designers, the set builders, the people that built out that world in all its detail and all the creatures in it and every blade of grass."

'The human beauty'

For as singular and unparalleled a talent as James Cameron so obviously is, not a single one of his movies could've been made without the help of armies of artists working in concert in one unified goal. During the "Avatar" press conference, the director made sure to single out all the different levels of filmmaking that made the original movie possible in the first place. Of course, he made sure to heap praise upon his cast, remarking on the "human beauty" that they brought to the picture. "There's also the human beauty that was created by this cast ... just this amazing ability to play, to create, to become people and to do it in different forms."

Singling out Zoe Saldaña's performance in particular, Cameron made sure to applaud the actor for the sheer imagination required to essentially act against nothing but drab placeholders and empty air where the CGI would go. In his own words, he touched upon "the love and the beauty and the ferocity that flowed from her" throughout her performance. Only half-jokingly, Cameron attributed his wonderful experience with the cast and crew for why we'll eventually sit down for multiple "Avatar" sequels in the near future.

"I just look back at everybody's work and I'm just so grateful to have had an opportunity to work with these amazing people. And I think that's why I promptly went out and wrote another and another and another "Avatar." I just wanted to continue with this family and with this great experience."

Regardless of how well anyone thinks the 2009 "Avatar" has aged, it's tough to remain cynical about an answer like that. "Avatar: The Way of Water" is scheduled to release in theaters on December 16, 2022.