I know, I know; you're probably asking the question: Why?
Well, ask the man behind it all, Mr. James Cameron.
Revealed on the franchise's Facebook page over the weekend, Cameron's box office blockbuster "Avatar" will get 4 (FOUR) sequels, to be released over the next 8 years! Here's the announcement:
In our last update on the franchise, we reported that 3 sequels were in the works; this was 4 years ago. Since then, a 4th has been added.
Screenwriters Josh Friedman ("War of the Worlds"), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver ("Rise of the Planets of the Apes"), and Shane Salerno ("Savages," "Salinger") had been hired to pen the screenplays for all 3 (now 4) films, which will be shot simultaneously. Previously, production was to begin in 2014, aiming for releases in December 2016, December 2017, and the third in 2018. Obviously that's not happening.
Cameron will produce with his Lighthouse Entertainment partner Jon Landau. The projects are set up at 20th Century Fox.
The first Avatar is still the highest grossing film in worldwide box office, having earned more than $2.7 billion worldwide (and that's not even adjusted for inflation). It tops the second film, which was also directed by James Cameron, in "Titanic." With that kind of industry cred, Cameron is likely free to do whatever he wants, so it makes you wonder why he's devoting a decade of his life to one franchise. That said, give how much "Avatar" technology has evolved since the first film, one can only assume that he's excited about the what he can now do that he couldn't do a decade ago.
The first film was debated heavily on the old S&A site; this was in our very first year.
In short, some of us felt that James Cameron could have made the alternate choice in his fictional story and "allowed" the Na'vi the fortitude to fight and win, completely absent of the presence of a "white savior" or imperialist from the other side (in the form of the white Jake Sully character we've seen in several similar films).
Surely, within the Na'vi tribe, there could have existed a leader capable of inspiring and rallying the troops to victory, just as Sully did; surely "The One" could have come from within, instead of from outside. However, we get the all-too familiar, trite transformed white male hero/savior.
It's as if white male filmmakers need a face and voice they can readily identify with within films of this nature, so much that they can't possibly fathom scenarios in which the indigenous people could actually be capable of fighting and winning completely without the help of a conflicted outsider.
Many felt that the film only further reinforces the notion of white supremacy, when one looks critically at the film's themes and message.
Of course, some of us disagreed with that entire argument, and thus, the debate over the film's merits.
At this time, we have no idea what story the next 4 adventures in the land of the Na'vi will tell (assuming that's where all 4 films will be set). There were rumors a few years ago that Cameron was planning on taking the action off Pandora for what was then supposed to just be one sequel.
In terms of cast, the original film co-starred Zoe Saldana, C.C.H Pounder and Laz Alonso, all playing Na'vi. As of today, Saldana is the only one of the 3 who has been officially confirmed to return for the sequels (at least 3 of them); no word on Pounder and Alonso.
In fact, there were a number of black actors playing *smaller* parts in the first film, whether as Na'vi or human, like Peter Mensah and Scott Lawrence.
But also confirmed to return for the sequels are stars Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington.
So the journey continues December 18, 2020, December 17, 2021, December 20, 2024 and December 19, 2025! Are you ready for 4 "Avatar" sequels?