The first Avatar film became a box office smash, and The Way of Water is set to be released in just a few days. However, just because this movie franchise is highly successful thanks to content outside of the films, such as the graphic novels, a potential TV adaptation for the film franchise is currently not on the table just yet.
In an interview with ComicBook.com, James Cameron claimed that the production of a potential Avatar show isn’t feasible due to the amount of CG needed to produce the show to be as breathtaking compared to the films. He did point out that perhaps the use of AI and deep-learning technologies could make the production of the show feasible.
“In terms of spinning off from Avatar, the problem is the characters are photoreal CG and it doesn’t really fit a TV pipeline kind of model yet. Now, maybe 10 years from now, if we inject enough machine, deep-learning, and A.I. into the process, it might be possible to collapse down from a one year timeline to do a shot, down closer to real time.
If you’re still keen to see an Avatar show, he predicted that it might take at least a minimum of five to ten years for the technology to be available to produce a TV show. He also says that a show coming to fruition could also count in “the people’s desire” for it to be created.
I don’t know if we’ll get to real time but I think we might get close enough to do television, but it won’t be for, I’d say minimum five years, maybe more like 10. But if Avatar becomes a universe, if it becomes a persistent world for people and the desire is there, yeah. I could see that happening eventually.”
It makes sense why Cameron thinks an Avatar show isn’t feasible at the time. It was reported that Avatar: The Way of Water is set to be the “most expensive film ever made” and had a budget between $350 to $400 million. It was reported by Variety that in order for the sequel to make a profit, it will have to beat the predecessor at the box office, a feat so far only accomplished by Avengers: Endgame (before Avatar reclaimed its first place with a theatrical re-release in China).
Cameron confirmed in an interview with GQ Magazine that the film needs to be either the fourth or fifth highest-grossing film of all time, in order to break even. He also encouraged moviegoers to “use the toilet” if they have to since the movie is very long and that they should “come back and watch it again” to see the parts they’ve missed.
During a recent cast interview for the sequel, Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver expressed how the film’s visuals “stepped up” since the 2009 film. They also claimed that viewers will be blown away once they sit down and watch the film.
Avatar: The Way of Water will be out in theaters on Dec. 16, 2022.