James Cameron reveals details of discarded Avatar sequel script

Avatar cinema re-release in 4K
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James Cameron has revealed details of the Avatar follow-up that never came to be, after he decided to go another way.

It’s no secret that there is a lot riding on Avatar: The Way Of Water. The weight of expectation is high, both in terms of quality and financial return for the studio.

However, James Cameron, chatting with Total Film, revealed that the Avatar sequel could have looked very different.

Avatar: The High Ground was an earlier version of the follow-up he penned. It clocked in at over 100 pages and would have presented different challenges to the sequel that ended up going before the cameras. Cameron explained that “I was working with a team of writers. We had a lot of ideas, we kept trying to corral it into a box and it never quite fit. So at a certain point, I said I’ll just finish it, and see if it’s a movie”.

He ended up with 130 pages or so, and explained that it would have featured “the Na’vi fighting with bows and arrows in zero-G. I mean, I’m there! I want to see that movie. But it just didn’t achieve enough of the overall story and thematic goals that I had in mind”.

Instead, the battle sequence will slip in elsewhere in the sequels, and The High Ground is becoming a comic book series instead.

Ultimately, Cameron explained, Avatar: The High Ground got axed because “it was missing one of those critical elements about sequels, which is that it didn’t go enough into the unexpected. It also didn’t play enough by Avatar rules, which is to connect us to the dream world, that which has a spiritual component that we can’t even quite quantify in words”.

Avatar: The Way Of Water arrives in cinemas on December 16th. The new issue of Total Film is on sale now.


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