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Why James Cameron Threw Out An Entire Early Draft Of Avatar 2

After writing, directing, and producing two of the biggest hits worldwide in the past 25 years with "Titanic" and "Avatar," Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron is undoubtedly going to get his way when it comes to the creative decisions of his current and future films. As such, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Cameron got his way when it came to the crafting of his story for the long-awaited "Avatar" sequel "Avatar: The Way of the Water" even if it took the filmmaker quite a bit more time to get there.

"Avatar" was released in 2009, and it turned into a box office juggernaut with more than $2.8 billion in worldwide ticket sales against a $245 million budget after its initial theatrical run and subsequent re-releases (via Deadline). The current tally is bound to increase with the special re-release of "Avatar" in theaters this weekend, a move undoubtedly planned to get fans of the film excited about the release of "Avatar: The Way of the Water" in December.

"Avatar" told the story of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paralyzed military veteran enlisted to become an avatar (via a motion-capture performance) by transferring his conciseness into the biologically engineered body of a Na'vi, an alien race native to the distant planet of Pandora. Meant to keep his eye on the species while earthlings mine the valuable mineral of unobtanium, Jake begins to empathize with the Na'vi once he falls in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and becomes cognizant of the fact that the visitors from Earth are destroying Pandora's natural resources.

As the title of the film suggests, "Avatar: The Way of the Water" will take the action from above ground to underwater, and Cameron took to unusually extreme measures to ensure the narrative of the sequel lived up to the story of the 2009 film.

Cameron worked on the Avatar: The Way of the Water script a year before tossing it

In a new interview with The Times U.K., James Cameron made the startling admission that took a year to write the screenplay for "Avatar: The Way of the Water," only to throw it away after mulling over factors that made the first film a hit. "When I sat down with my writers to start "Avatar 2," I said we cannot do the next one until we understand why the first one did so well. We must crack the code of what the hell happened," Cameron told The Times U.K. He also explained his rationale, telling the publication that different films work in different ways to entertain audiences. He then gave three levels, with the last to probe why people went back to see "Avatar" more than once.

"The first is surface, which is character, problem and resolution. The second is thematic," Cameron said. "What is the movie trying to say? But 'Avatar' also works on a third level, the subconscious ... I wrote an entire script for the sequel, read it and realized that it did not get to level three. Boom. Start over. That took a year."

Since Cameron appears keen to share stories about the production of the first "Avatar" — including one with The New York Times about how he fought with 20th Century Fox studios about the length of the film and the length of the flying banshees' scenes — he's bound to one day go into greater detail about what was in the sequel's abandoned script.

For now, "Avatar: The Way of the Water" — the first of four planned "Avatar" sequels — appears to be all buttoned up, and the film will be released in theaters on December 16. The film will feature several cast members from the original "Avatar," who will be joined by the likes of Kate Winslet and Michelle Yeoh.