When Avatar: The Way of Water arrives in theaters this year, it will have been more than a decade since the original Avatar premiered in 2009. However, if there’s one filmmaker who’s earned the right to be patient, it’s James Cameron. With two of the highest-grossing films of all time on his resume, there’s a definitely method to Cameron’s madness. But when the time came to write Avatar 2, Cameron’s method involved disposing of an entire script after working on it for a whole year.
Cameron offered some fresh insight into his writing process in a new interview with The Times UK. In the case of the Avatar saga, he wanted to make sure that the first sequel met a his own set of criteria. And when his earlier draft fell short of those expectations, he decided to start from scratch rather than simply tweaking what didn’t work.
“Well, all films work on different levels,” said Cameron. “The first is surface, which is character, problem and resolution. The second is thematic. What is the movie trying to say? But Avatar also works on a third level, the subconscious. I wrote an entire script for the sequel, read it and realized that it did not get to level three. Boom. Start over. That took a year.”
Additionally, Cameron found himself revisiting the first film before starting on what eventually became The Way of Water. In his mind, he and his collaborators needed to zero in on what made the original installment a hit with fans if they had any hope of matching its critical and box office success.
“When I sat down with my writers to start Avatar 2, I said we cannot do the next one until we understand why the first one did so well,” added Cameron. “We must crack the code of what the hell happened.”
Needless to say, Cameron did eventually crack that code, as Avatar: The Way of Water will arrive in theaters on December 16.
Do you think Avatar: The Way of the Water will be the biggest film of 2022? Leave your predictions in the comments below!
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