With writer/director James Cameron taking so long to perfect the pre-production phase of the auteur’s long-gestating Avatar sequels, it’s easy to forget that four whole years have passed since Cameron’s sci-fi opus hit theaters and became the highest-grossing film of all time.
Now, after years of pre-production and story work on the future installments, Cameron finally announced that he will shoot the film’s three sequels in New Zealand, beginning with Avatar 2 in October 2014. With Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy leaving hundreds of the country’s visual effects artists and crafts people starved for more work, the New Zealand economy will no doubt rejoice over the news of these three impending productions, which will shoot consecutively over a period of nine months.
Although the sequels will have more Pandora creatures and will further explore the Na’vi cultures, Cameron is not merely interested in visual expansion. He wants to focus more on Jake Sully and his family.
“It’s really the story of his family, the family that he creates on Pandora. His extended family. So think of it as a family saga like The Godfather,” the director says.
The director added that he has been working with a digital team to develop new software to bring these worlds to life.
“At first I thought I was going to take it onto other worlds as well, in the same solar system, but it turned out not to be necessary,” he said. “I mean the Pandora that we have imagined will be a fantasy land that is going to occupy people for decades to come, the way I see it.”
While Avatar was a rousing box office success, some viewers were left cold by its uninspired story. On the bright side, it looks like James Cameron is hoping to expand the characters as much as the technology. With his hefty comparison to The Godfather, let us hope that Avatar 2 is even half as arresting as that mob drama’s sequel.