By Ryan Wallace, Parent Herald | August 12, 12:23 PM
In an interview earlier this weekend with Australia's news.com, award-winning director and producer James Cameron revealed that he is currently in pre-production for three more films he plans on adding to his Avatar series.
Proclaimed to be the box-office winner of all time, grossing approximately $2.8 billion worldwide in 2009, James Cameron's "Avatar" was one for the record-books. A shockingly realistic portrayal of a far off alien civilization on the planet Pandora, the film was the first of its kind in creating an entire existence as well as a three-dimensional experience for its movie-goers, which had people jumping out of their seats and into the screen.
Bringing in a 550% profit for 20th Century Fox, and making record-breaking sales for every party involved, it has long been questioned why writer and director James Cameron has not pursued a sequel. But even with such a creative background, bringing to life stories like the Titanic and the Aliens vs. Predator series, Cameron faces particular difficulties with the Avatar franchise.
In developing the original Avatar, Cameron and his team not only had to write a script, but also create a planet, create unique species, find a struggle and conceive an entire race of humanoid alien-people named the Na'vi. The film worked in a dual fashion, blending complex alien concepts and a dose of reality. The complexity in concept was by far its greatest strength. Giving rise to an entire language, cultural customs, and even a somewhat biologically neural network that connected all living beings on the planet Pandora, fantasy was able to run rampant within the confines of the film. But the realism of the story, the conflict and the emotional hurdles that the characters faced, as well as the familiar allusions to places and species on our planet, gave the film a tangible plausibility that appealed to the masses.
In the first film we saw the Na'vi: blue-skinned, ten-foot tall warriors with a way of connecting their nerve impulses into other species, but they were mainly human counterparts. Bringing in the scientific advice of flora physiologists and evolutionary biologists, to help develop the biosphere that is Pandora, Cameron was able to create an entire taxonomy that blended Earth-like organisms with fantastical adaptations that were scientifically accurate to what we'd expect on the fictional planet. Banshees that resembled prehistoric pterodactyls took flight, while hyena-esque viperwolves prowled the tropical rainforest with a voracious hunting instinct. All coming together in harmony, giving us a realistic portrayal of extraterrestrial life on a far off planet much like our own.
But now that the sequels have been set, the question arises as to what could possibly be new, and what's coming next?
Exploring the truest depths of our own planet, Cameron's new documentary Deepsea Challenge 3D where he explored the deepest parts of the ocean in a claustrophobically small submarine may give us a hint to the direction Avatar is headed in next.
"Where I am right now is the scripts are almost done, much of the preliminary design work has been done, so new creatures design, new settings, environments, other places you'll see on Pandora and other places in the Avatar universe" Cameron said. "So it's all coming together, it's all right on track."
With so many prehistoric, and almost alien-esque species inhabiting the darkest corners of the open ocean, we expect that Avatar may take a more aquatic or amphibian approach to new species development on Pandora. But whether they're terrestrial or aquatic, we're certain that they'll be unique and frighteningly realistic, with just a few evolutionary adaptations that'll make them cute or cringe-worthy.
Although not a typical approach to filming, especially with such a vast and creative story in mind, Cameron and his production team plan on shooting all three films consecutively and release them over a sequence of three short years.
"Christmas 2016, Christmas 2017 and Christmas 2018 is the target" Cameron says. "They'll drop a year apart, so they stay within the public consciousness as one big story."
For more information on the flora and fauna of the film, as well as the species that inspired their creation, check out www.pandorapedia.com