‘Avatar’ Producer Explains the Plan for the Franchise’s Many Sequels

James Cameron certainly understands how to toe the line between idealism and pragmatism when it comes to his Avatar franchise. Though the director says he has enough ideas to build out a total of 7 Avatar films, he’s also willing to let audience response to Avatar: The Way of Water inform his decision on the future of the franchise. Early word on the sequel, which opens in theaters across the globe on December 16th, indicates it might be another Cameron classic, giving Cameron the boost he needs to move ahead with the franchise.

Given Cameron’s undeniable success as a director (the man has directed two of the top 3 highest-grossing films of all time in Avatar and Titanic), his patience and humility in regards to the Avatar franchise is noteworthy. As Cameron noted, the key to moving forward with the franchise is figuring out if fans “give a shit” about what’s next. In an interview with i09, Avatar producer Jon Landau detailed how he and Cameron hope to keep audiences engaged long enough to tell what could be a 7-film long-form story. Unsurprisingly, part of that is simply sticking with what worked so well in 2009’s Avatar.

I think right now we want each movie to do exactly what the first movie did. We want [audiences] to go, ‘Wow. Where else could they go? They just showed us everything on Pandora.’ Then you go, ‘Holy cow. They’re going to the oceans. Wow. The oceans are amazing.’ Okay, that’s over. Where can it go? Same thing from an emotional story. We end the movie [Avatar] with Jake and this transformation. But we’ve suffered the loss of Grace, and we’ve suffered other things. We want people to come out of this movie with an emotional resolution that both calls for a yearning to go back to those characters and to the world.

Jon Landau

Landau’s explanation goes a long way in understanding why he’s called each film in the series “standalone” despite them very much being part of a shared narrative. For Landau and Cameron, each film in the series needs to both wow and satisfy audiences and the subsequent films then need to find ways to up the ante while connecting to the audience’s love of what came before. As other long-standing franchises such as James Bond and Star Wars have proven, that’s not always easy. However, Avatar has one advantage that those franchises have not had and that’s the consistent presence of Cameron from film to film.

Source: i09

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