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James Cameron Scrapped An Avatar 2 Script He Spent A Year Writing

James Cameron, the mastermind behind 2009’s Avatar, reveals he spent an entire year writing a script for Avatar 2, only to toss it out in the end.

James Cameron worked for a year on an Avatar: The Way of Water script, which he ended up throwing away. With an impressive slate of films behind him including Titanic, The Terminator, Aliens, and Avatar, Cameron has four sequels to Avatar in the works. The Oscar-winning director created the highest-grossing movie of all time with 2009’s Avatar, so the hype for his sequels is high. After 12 years, the overwhelming response to the Avatar 2 trailer proved that fans are eagerly awaiting a return to the franchise, which will pick up where the previous film left off with the same characters played by Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña.


With a massively successful first installment, there is understandably a lot of pressure on Cameron and the crew to deliver a sequel that honors the original while revitalizing the Avatar franchise with a fresh story. Previously, he spoke about the writing process for Avatar 2, indicating that the writers were eager to contribute new ideas that expanded the franchise. Though Cameron is also looking forward to bringing new ideas to the table, he was dead set on keeping a strong connection to the original film, so much so that he threatened to fire the writers in order to keep them focused, according to the director himself.

Related: Avatar 2 Perfectly Flips James Cameron’s Best Underwater Movie

In a conversation with The Times UK, Cameron speaks more about his writing process, admitting that he threw away a year’s worth of work because the script wasn’t up to his standard for Avatar. The writer/director explains that Avatar films should work on three levels, and his discarded Avatar script only managed a portion. See Cameron’s full quote below:

“All films work on different levels. The first is surface, which is character, problem and resolution. The second is thematic. What is the movie trying to say? But ‘Avatar’ also works on a third level, the subconscious. I wrote an entire script for the sequel, read it and realized that it did not get to level three. Boom. Start over. That took a year.”

Cameron’s comments prove his determination to get Avatar 2 right at all costs, as well as his confidence in the film. The director is so certain about the direction of the franchise that he was prepared to throw away a year of work and start from scratch, which bodes well for the final product. After 12 years, it makes sense that Cameron wanted to ensure that the film perfectly encapsulates everything that Avatar is about. As Cameron describes it, the original film contains all the surface elements that make up a film, as well as thematic ones with its environmental themes. The subconscious level the filmmaker refers to are likely the parts of the historic film that speak to the human psyche through its combination of its visuals, ambiance, and more. As the Avatar universe expands with four sequels, it will be interesting to see how Cameron’s intensive approach holds up.

Cameron’s passion for the Avatar franchise is palpable, and encouraging for fans looking forward to returning to Avatar after more than a decade. The filmmaker has previously said that Avatar: The Way of Water will be unpredictable and move in unexpected directions, which will hopefully go a long way in renewing the public’s enthusiasm when the film is released. The original Avatar is set for a theatrical re-release this month, which will likely build more hype for the sequel when it finally arrives in December.

Source: The Times UK

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