The Expanded Avatar Universe - A Novel By James Cameron, Comic Books And The Pandorapedia

If you're like me, or Adrian Mole, and have fallen profoundly in love with Pandora, here's a whole heap of good news for you. As well as the possible Avatar sequels, James Cameron has now revealed that there's a full slate of 'expanded universe' fictions coming our way.

Comic books seem like a natural progression for such a visually resonant mythos and Cameron says, sure enough, we can expect some to come along. As yet, no deals are in place so it's anybody's guess who the writers and illustrators might be. Who would you like to see?

Just yesterday, Super Punch commented on the likeness between Avatar's Na'vi and the cast of the Timespirits comics from 1985. Get a look at this:


As well as books full of pictures, there's also going to be at least one book full of words. It's not entirely clear if this will just be a delayed novelization of the film, but the way I'm reading it, it won't be. Here's what Cameron told UGO about his plans for spinning off the Avatar universe:

Yeah, we'll do as much as possible to do.  I wanted to get the bible worked out so that these things didn't generate conflicting ideas or conflicting plotlines with things I would want to do in the sequels, or with each other.  That was the purpose of generating Pandorapedia, working out the backstory and the future history.... that's really going to be a second wave, including a novel which I hope to have time to write myself.

James Cameron, novelist. I can imagine David Chen's face as he reads this and it isn't pretty (er... if you know what I mean). My face is a considerably prettier emoticon, though I'm not expecting Jane Austen.

This Pandorapedia is apparently a very complex tome which contains all of the details of the Avatar movie world that Cameron has created. A simplified version is now online for your perusal. It's full of back-story and geek-pleasing details of key Avatar concepts, creatures and tech. Here, for example, is some of the entry on the AMP Suit:

The operator's arms move servo armatures and the suit's arms follow in perfect synchronization. Because of limited space inside the cockpit, the servo armatures move in a 1:2 ratio relative to the suit's arms. It requires many hours of training for an AMP suit driver to become agile and dexterous, with the biggest difficulty being this scaled ratio of movement. The legs are actuated by foot-pedals which amplify on an even larger ratio. In fact the leg sensors work slightly differently than the arms. Due to the confining spatial envelope around the feet and legs of the operator, the pedals cannot move in long strides, even on a scaled relationship. Instead, they sense the force and direction of the input and the onboard computer triggers a corresponding programmed movement of the legs. So the operator creates pressure and direction "cues" which trigger leg movements. The suit executes the "intention" of the pilot, calculating terrain factors and momentum to perform balanced movement.

And there's plenty more where that came from.