Avatar:The Way of Water’s long development process becomes more impressive when examined with James Cameron’s Titanic in mind. As seen in its trailer, Avatar 2 will take audiences on an oceanic adventure on the aquatic side of Pandora when the movie is released on December 16th. The release of Avatar 2 is also one with an unusually long gap since the first Avatar of 13 years.
Avatar itself was a movie that had been a long time coming when it released in December 2009, the film marking Cameron’s first theatrical movie as director since 1997’s Titanic. Cameron broke his own record with Avatar surpassing Titanic to become the highest-grossing movie ever made, but the long stretch from Titanic to Avatar is worth examining further when talking about Avatar 2. That is because of the nature of Cameron as a filmmaker along with the added burdens Cameron took on from Avatar to Avatar 2 and the timeline of the latter`s arrival.
Few filmmakers are as notorious for spending north of a decade simply developing one movie as James Cameron — let alone Cameron`s development of all the announced Avatar sequels. Titanic and Avatar were both among the most technically daunting movies ever made, with Cameron bringing extreme attention to detail and history-making visual effects to both.
Avatar 2 is arriving in a similar time interval from 2009`s Avatar as it had from 1997`s Titanic, but the difference is that Cameron was doing so much more than making one massive movie with Avatar 2, but rather building its entire universe in the first Avatar.
Avatar 2 will be the first of four planned sequels to Avatar, each to be released bi-annually beginning with Avatar 2’s 2022 release. In comparison with Avatar, Cameron may have been introducing audiences to the Na’vi and their lush forest habitat on Pandora. Yet, for all of its challenges as a huge movie, it was still just one movie. With his plans for the Avatar sequels, Cameron essentially quadrupled his workload from what Avatar required.
Avatar 2 moving visual effects technology even further by taking audiences into a sea-based story on Pandora is only one component of what Cameron and the production team are doing. Avatar 2 is also building the universe of the Avatar franchise to facilitate the three Avatar sequels meant to succeed it, requiring the film’s writing and world-building to have its focus on far more areas at once than Avatar ever did. Avatar 2`s development timeline being comparable to the original Avatar`s is that much more impressive when considering the enormity of the Avatar franchise`s subsequent sequels: Avatar 3, 4, and 5.
James Cameron is a writer and director known for taking his time on extremely complex movies. Avatar 2 is an outlier even in his own filmography in setting up the succession of the admittedly risky Avatar sequels with groundbreaking CGI and a collective budget of $1 billion. That Cameron and everyone else involved in Avatar: The Way of Water managed this feat in a similar turnaround as there was between Titanic and Avatar only makes the 13-year wait all the more incredible.