‘Avatar’ producer explains the challenges of writing 4 sequels at once

Hollywood has largely moved away from the practice of locking down release dates for sequels before the previous movie has even been released, but it goes without saying that James Cameron has never really played by the industry’s rules.

As the brains behind The Terminator and sequel Judgement Day, Aliens, True Lies, Titanic and Avatar, the latter two of which both earned in excess of $2 billion to each become the highest-grossing movies in the history of cinema, the filmmaker has more than proven himself as a constant game-changer.

Even then, the announcement of no less than four Avatar follow ups came as a bit of a surprise, especially when the first installment’s reputation has slowly found itself being eroded over the last dozen years. The second chapter is still set for release in December 2022, and in an interview with Total Film magazine, producer Jon Landau outlined the challenges of working on four blockbuster epics simultaneously.

“The scripts are the blueprint from which we work. So a large portion of our time was writing… with the challenge that each of those four scripts had to individually resolve itself in a story that concludes with a big emotional resolution – but when you look at them as a whole, the connected story arc of all four movies creates an even larger epic saga.”

Cameron even revealed a while back that he almost fired his entire writing team because they were looking too far ahead instead of focusing on one film at a time, which sounds a little ironic when the screenplay was hardly lauded as Avatar‘s greatest strength.