James Cameron has always been a filmmaker with a vision – a director who sees and imagines the possibilities that the rest of us can’t. And after changing the game with Avatar, taking a high-concept original idea and turning it into the highest-grossing film of all time, his next vision was to create an epic new four-film saga set in the same universe, telling a huge story on the glowing planet of Pandora . The first of those films, Avatar: The Way Of Water, hits cinemas this December, and the as-yet-untitled third film is set to follow in 2024, having shot back-to-back. Down the line, Avatar 4 and 5 will go into production, also planned to film together. But while this whole endeavor was Cameron’s idea, one thing that’s less certain is whether he’ll be the one to direct those final two films.
Speaking to Empire in the upcoming world-exclusive Avatar: The Way Of Water issue, the legendary filmmaker opened up about his plans for the later movies in the series – including the possibility that he may appoint someone else to bring the saga to its conclusion. “Tea Avatar films themselves are kind of all-consuming,” Cameron admits. “I’ve got some other things I’m developing as well that are exciting. I think eventually over time – I don’t know if that’s after three or after four – I’ll want to pass the baton to a director that I trust to take over, so I can go do some other stuff that I’m also interested in. Or maybe not. I don’t know.” Previously, Cameron handed across Alita: Battle Angel – a project he long planned to adapt for the screen – to director Robert Rodriguez, while remaining on board as executive producer and co-writer.
Still, Avatar is Cameron’s own world – and he sounds particularly enthused about where the story goes in the later movies. “Everything I need to say about family, about sustainability, about climate, about the natural world, the themes that are important to me in real life and in my cinematic life, I can say on this canvas,” he explains. “I got more excited as I went along. Movie four is a corker. It’s a motherfucker. I actually hope I get to make it. But it depends on market forces. Three is in the can so it’s coming out regardless. I really hope that we get to make four and five because it’s one big story, ultimately.”The saga is only just beginning – let James Cameron’s next epic vision begin.
Empire‘s Avatar: The Way Of Water issue hits newsstands on Thursday 7 July, with unparalleled access to the film and its cast and crew – heading to Cameron’s Lightstorm HQ and talking to the director himself, as well as producer Jon Landau, stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, and plenty more. Plus, it’s stacked with never-before-seen images, opening up the world of Pandora like never before. Pre-order a copy online here – and stay tuned to empireonline.com for more major exclusives. Avatar: The Way Of Water comes to UK cinemas from 16 December.