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James Cameron Spills Secrets About The Avatar Sequel He Scrapped

Director James Cameron boasts numerous iconic films to his name, ranging from "Terminator" to "Titanic." When looking at his works from the 21st century, though, easily the most talked-about is "Avatar," which premiered in 2009 and swiftly became the biggest movie ever made. It stars Sam Worthington as Jake Sully: a former Marine who becomes enamored with an alien world known as Pandora. There he grows close with the natives, the Na'vi, and elects to help them in their fight to keep the greedy Resources Development Administration from destroying their home in its pursuit of resources.

It took years for "Avatar" to become a reality, and once it did, it became nothing short of a phenomenon. It grossed billions of dollars at the global box office, and the vast majority of audiences and critics seemed to adore it. However, it has taken years for a sequel, "Avatar: The Way of Water," to become a reality. The long-awaited continuation will hit theaters on December 16, 2022, paving the way for three more sequels that will arrive in the years to come — so long as "The Way of Water" doesn't bomb. If so, Cameron has an alternative plan to keep the story going. 

Of course, time will tell if these films stay on track, bearing in mind just how meticulous James Cameron is with this franchise. In fact, an original concept for "Avatar 2" looked quite different from what "The Way of Water" turned out to be. Here's what Cameron himself had to say about his scrapped sequel.

Avatar: The High Ground didn't quite click

Ahead of the theatrical arrival of "Avatar: The Way of Water," James Cameron spoke to Total Film about the "Avatar" world and all of the work that has gone into it. Along the way, he touched on his initial idea for a sequel to the 2009 sensation, titled "Avatar: The High Ground." "I was working with a team of writers. We had a lot of ideas. We kept trying to corral it into a box, and it never quite fit. So at a certain point, I said, 'I'll just finish it and see if it's a movie,'" Cameron recalled, adding that when it was all said and done, the 130-page script was excellent and told a compelling story.

At the same time, Cameron admits that the "High Ground" script wasn't quite up to par for some intangible reason. He told the publication, "It was missing one of those critical elements about sequels, which is that it didn't go enough into the unexpected." The story also didn't play by what Cameron refers to as "'Avatar' rules," meaning it didn't quite tap into the spiritual nature of the previous film that's difficult to describe, but one can feel as they watch. With that, Cameron and his crew went back to the drawing board. They eventually landed on "The Way of Water," and the rest is history.

The High Ground will reach the public in a different form

So, with that information in mind, do we know what the scrapped "Avatar: The High Ground" would've entailed? We only know what little James Cameron divulged. "There's some great stuff in it. I mean, you've got the Na'vi fighting with bows and arrows in zero-G," he revealed to Total Film, though he didn't go into much more detail than that. Before you start demanding more tidbits about "The High Ground" or consider launching a petition to get it made, though, hold your horses. You'll get to see all that it has to offer very soon (unlike the early "Avatar 2" script Cameron threw out).

"We're turning it into a Dark Horse graphic novel. You'll be able to see that interim battle that took place between movie one and movie two," Cameron went on to announce, making it clear that "The High Ground" will not only reach the public in some form, but if you're a big "Avatar" fan, you'll want to give it a read before checking out "The Way of Water" at your local cinema. The graphic novel will arrive on December 6, 2022, just 10 days before "The Way of Water" premiere. If all of this new media doesn't make up for the almost decade-and-a-half-long wait between movies, who knows what will?

For the first time in quite a while, it's a great time to be an "Avatar" fan.