James Cameron Talks Lessons From 'Avatar' And The Young Cast Of 'Avatar 2' [TCA 2018]

Director James Cameron appeared on a Television Critics Association panel this weekend for his upcoming AMC docuseries James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction. Inevitably, the panel ended with a question about the new Avatar sequels. As always, Cameron's response was an interesting one, and he also discussed the young new cast members who will make their first appearance in Avatar 2.

Cameron was asked how Avatar 2 would advance storytelling, but he said that's not exactly how he's approaching the sequel.

"I don't think you advance storytelling," Cameron said. "I think storytelling is always about the basics. It's about people. I think that the lesson for me from the first film that I've applied to the new films is the more fantastic the imagery, the more otherworldly and the more you're pushing out to the edge of what's possible in terms of bringing imaginative imagery to the screen, the more it has to be grounded in relationship, truth and heart. Hopefully, I'm doing that in spades with the new films."

Cameron turned attention to the additional cast he added to the new Avatar movies on the way (don't forget, there are four of them). Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore and CCH Pounder return all return. But new cast members (revealed a little while back) call attention to a younger generation including Jack Champion, Trinity Bliss, Bailey Bas, Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton, Filip Geljo and Duane Evans Jr.

"I'm always very cognizant of the cast," Cameron said. "I work very hard to cast this and find new young actors coming up who have incredible heart, are just amazing. It doesn't matter how much you dress it up, create production design and visual effects. If the story doesn't work, you're not connecting for the characters, it doesn't work."

That's not to say Cameron isn't trying new things. While he wouldn't say what those new things are, Cameron hinted that he's taking some risks with the new Avatar films.

"You always have to give yourself permission as an artist to fail," Cameron said. "You've got to try something. The least safe thing you can do is try to be safe."

Avatar 2 is due in theaters December 18, 2020 with three more sequels to follow.