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Avatar 2’s Lengthy Runtime Explained By James Cameron

James Cameron reveals that Avatar The Way of Water‘s lengthy reported runtime of over three hours is due to the film focusing more on its character’s stories. The sequel to 2009’s Avatar sees Cameron reunite with returning cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang to continue the story of the planet Pandora. Avatar: The Way of Water sees Jake Sully (Worthington) and Neytiri (Saldaña) journey to the oceans of Pandora with their family, amidst rumblings of an ancient, dormant evil awakening, as well as the return of the human forces of the RDA, and their genetically-engineered Recombinant Na’vi Avatar operatives.


In an interview with GamesRadar, Cameron explained why Avatar: The Way of Water has a lengthy runtime of over three hours, revealing that the new sequel’s story called for a longer length to explore the cast. While Cameron has avoided spoiling Avatar 2‘s story, the director stated that the sequel places greater emphasis on its character when compared to the original film, with both the returning and new cast members requiring more time to be properly developed. Check out Cameron’s full response below:

The goal is to tell an extremely compelling story on an emotional basis. I would say the emphasis in the new film is more on character, more on story, more on relationships, more on emotion. We didn’t spend as much time on relationship and emotion in the first film as we do in the second film, and it’s a longer film, because there’s more characters to service. There’s more story to service.

Related: James Cameron REALLY Wants You To Know Avatar 2 Is Beautiful

Cameron’s Explanation Is Promising Sign For Avatar 2

With Avatar: The Way of Water surpassing the original 2009 film’s runtime of 2 hours, 42 minutes by at least 20 minutes, the sequel has led many potential viewers to discuss the sequel’s length, and whether they would be willing to venture to theatres to see the film. While Cameron has defended the runtime previously in regard to the audience’s changing viewing habits, the director’s latest response may help in justifying to some why Avatar: The Way of Water may be worth seeing in theatres beyond the groundbreaking effects. With both Jake and Neytiri returning with their children and a whole new area of Pandora to explore with its own set of characters, the sequel promises to not be a simple retread of the first film, but rather expand the universe in new ways, with the longer runtime promising to help properly explore its narrative.

Despite its lengthy runtime promising a potential in-depth exploration of its cast, there is still a great deal of pressure hanging over Avatar: The Way of Water in regard to the franchise’s potential future. While Avatar has three upcoming installments that have been tentatively scheduled to release up until 2028, the second film is currently projected to not match Avatar‘s box office takings, leading to uncertainty whether the franchise could still be successful after such a long gap between installments. Despite the uncertainty, however, Cameron has assured that the story for the third film could be reworked to act as a conclusion to the franchise should the second film bomb at the box office and lead to Avatar 4 and Avatar 5‘s cancelation, giving the series a proper resolution.

While Avatar was a box office hit upon its release, many have questioned whether lightning could strike twice for Cameron’s sci-fi world with Avatar: The Way of Water. While the original film’s spectacular visuals created a world that captivated audiences, Avatar has been subject to much criticism in recent years over whether the franchise’s characters and story have endured the test of time and remained memorable, causing many to question if there was any interest in seeing the story continue. But though Avatar 2′s final runtime is currently undecided, Cameron’s promises that the longer film will contain a story that places greater emphasis on its characters may avert similar criticisms, firmly defining itself in pop culture and creating a tale that captivates audiences.

Next: Avatar 2 Theory Reveals What “The Way Of Water” REALLY MeansSource: GamesRadar

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