With Avatar: The Way of Water set for debut on December 16, James Cameron has indicated he may want to bestow the directorial mantle on to another shoulder for the fourth and fifth installments in the blockbuster series.
In an interview with Empire magazine, the Canadian-American filmmaker said that “The Avatar films themselves are kind of all-consuming” while noting he’s also in the process of developing some other projects.
“I think eventually over time – I don’t know if that’s after three or after four — I’ll want to pass the baton to a director that I trust to take over, so I can go do some other stuff that I’m also interested in,” he added. “Or maybe not. I don’t know.”
Cameron was not at all trying to suggest the Avatar projects have not been rewarding for him: “Everything I need to say about family, about sustainability, about climate, about the natural world, the themes that are important to me in real life and in my cinematic life, I can say on this canvas,” he said.
And, despite his plans to move forward, he still waxes enthusiastic about the yet-unmade Avatar films. “Movie four is a corker. It’s a motherfucker,” he declared. “I actually hope I get to make it. But it depends on market forces. Three is in the can so it’s coming out regardless. I really hope that we get to make four and five because it’s one big story, ultimately.”
Released in 2009, Cameron’s first Avatar movie about life on planet Pandora became the highest-grossing film of all time. It garnered nine Oscar nominations and received three, for Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects. Cameron wrote, directed, produced, and co-edited that film, which has been termed a “visual masterpiece” by critics. The cast includes Stephen Lang, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Sam Worthington, with Kate Winslet appearing in the new sequel.
Avatar 3 was shot in tandem with The Way of Water, so there’s no doubt that Cameron will be leaving his stamp on that installment, slated to be released in December of 2024.