avatar 2 story

Did you hear? There are several Avatar sequels coming out! It feels as if we’ve been talking about them for almost a decade…because we have. But James Cameron‘s big, expensive, expansive sci-fi epics will soon begin rolling out in theaters, and we’re learning more and more about them as time marches on. Cameron recently dropped some knowledge regarding the emotional stakes of the upcoming films – from the “dark places” characters go to in Avatar 2, to the “emotional rollercoaster” of the franchise as a whole.

While speaking with the Empire podcast, James Cameron provided some vague but potentially enticing details about the many Avatar sequels awaiting us in the not-too-distant-future. In regards to Avatar 2, due out next December, Cameron revealed that star Sam Worthington had to go to some dark places with his character, Jake Sully. As Cameron tells it, Jake’s marriage to Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) is pushed to the breaking point due to some dispute. A big part of the turmoil between the couple will be seen through the eyes of their many children.

“There’s a three-page argument scene between Jake and Neytiri, a marital dispute, very, very critical to the storyline,” Cameron said. “I wound up shooting it all from the point of view of the eight year old hiding under the structure and peeking in.”

This is all part of the heightened emotional stakes the characters go through throughout the course of the next four sequels.

“Having gone through the experience with [Sam Worthington] on Avatar,” Cameron continued, “I now knew how to write the Jake character going forward across the emotional rollercoaster of the next four movies. It’s been tough on him. He’s done two pictures back to back now, because we did 2 and 3 together. He had to go to some dark places.”

Cameron’s underlining of the emotional through-line in the sequels reads like a deliberate attempt to prove that Avatar is more than just pretty pictures. Whenever I think of the first Avatar, I immediately think of the visuals, and the special effects – and little else. I can barely recall the storyline, or the character motivations – and I’m sure I’m not alone. Perhaps Cameron is aware of this, and determined to make sure the sequels avoid this problem by upping the emotional, personal elements on display.

Avatar 2, featuring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Giovanni RibisiSigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, and more opens December 18, 2020. After that, look for Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021Avatar 4 on December 20, 2024; and Avatar 5 on December 19, 2025.

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