James Cameron may 'pass the baton' to another director.
Avatar: The Way Of Water, James Cameron’s sequel to the highest-grossing movie ever, is all set to premiere in December. The news that Cameron may not direct the later two planned films in the series himself has also been making the rounds.
Speaking to Empire in the upcoming world-exclusive Avatar: The Way Of Water issue, the legendary filmmaker opened up about his plans for the later movies in the series – including the probability that he may consider someone else to bring the story to its conclusion. “The Avatar films themselves are kind of all-consuming,” Cameron admits. “I’ve got some other things I’m developing as well that are exciting. 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. Or maybe not. I don’t know.”
Previously, Cameron had chosen Robert Rodriguez to helm Alita: Battle Angel, a film based on a graphic novel that he had long planned to adapt for the screen. Fans of Alita: Battle Angel had hoped he would direct the film. Cameron was on board as executive producer and co-writer though he was too busy with the Avatar films.
But the Avatar films remain personal for Cameron. "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," Cameron says, per Comicbook. "I got more excited as I went along. Movie four is a corker. It's a motherfucker. 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."
Cameron also mentions that "market forces" will ultimately determine the fate of Avatar series.
"The big issue is: Are we going to make any damn money?" Cameron told Entertainment Weekly in December 2021. "Big, expensive films have got to make a lot of money. We're in a new world post-COVID, post-streaming. Maybe those [box office] numbers will never be seen again. Who knows? It's all a big roll of the dice."
Avatar: The Way of Water will hit the theaters on December 16th. The original Avatar, which remains the highest-grossing film of all time at the box office, returns to theaters on September 23rd.