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James Cameron Claims His Avatar 4 Script Was Met With No Notes From Studio Execs

When "Avatar" premiered on cinema screens across the world in late 2009, it was hard to imagine the records the film would go on to break. Most impressively, the motion-capture extravaganza went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. Cameron simply swapped out movies to see one of his directed efforts maintain the title of top-earning North American box office gross as the feature replaced 1997's "Titanic" (per IGN). Although the domestic record would be broken, the director of "The Terminator," "Aliens," and "The Abyss" established himself as a studio titan with indie film sensibilities. "Avatar" is more than just a mindless sci-fi epic; the movie is filled with important themes concerning our own relationship with the natural world.

As the 2010s dawned, so too did the filmmaker's long-term vision for Pandora. Throughout the decade, Cameron planned and wrote four additional sequels to the film. He would go on to make a deal with the studio that included the official greenlight for two sequels. It can be concluded that this is likely one of many reasons it has been 13 years between the first film and December 2022's "Avatar: The Way of Water." Motion picture studio executives giving notes on screenplays is to be expected, but the director has revealed that 20th Century Studios returned his "Avatar 4" script with no notes at all. Here is the reason why.

Cameron says one studio executive called the script for Avatar 4 'nuts'

In an interview with Collider, James Cameron spoke to the publication about his writing process for the movies as well as his inspirations. Most revealing in the interview was the "True Lies" director's revelation about the studio's reaction to his screenplay for "Avatar 4." Explaining the process of waiting on the script reactions from 20th Century Studios, Cameron said that executives gave him three pages of notes with their thoughts on the narrative of "Avatar: The Way of Water," which was followed by a single page of notations for the third film in the unfolding saga.

He then told the publication, "When I turned in the script for 4, the studio executive, creative executive over the films wrote me an email that said, 'Holy f***.' And I said, 'Well, where are the notes?' And she said, 'Those are the notes.' Because it kind of goes nuts in a good way, right?" The filmmaker then explained how he hopes he gets to make the eventual fourth film since only one more sequel is guaranteed after the second film. A lot is riding on the success of "Avatar: The Way of Water," but perhaps "Avatar 3" even more so since the third film will fully embellish the movie series into a full-fledged franchise as Cameron envisions.

James Cameron says Peter Jackson was his inspiration when mapping out the rest of the Avatar series

Just how long the "Avatar" saga becomes is up to fans, with James Cameron divulging that "Avatar" 6 and 7 are certainly possible if there is still interest from fans. But with the telling way in which executives responded to "Avatar 4's" story, Cameron's commitment to establishing the epic tale of Pandora all at once is likely a testament to the awe and wonder the movies inspire in viewers. His inspiration for the movie series is not so surprising in this regard –- Peter Jackson and his work on "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

"My model was what Peter Jackson did with 'The Lord of the Rings,' which was a crazy bet in its time," The moviemaker told Collider. "And really hats off to that, that they took that chance to launch on all three of those films. But he had the books mapped out, so he could always show the actors what they needed to know about their character arc. So I felt I had to do the same thing." He continued by telling the publication that this process allowed the actors and crew to live with and know full well where the narrative was headed. 

If all seven "Avatar" movies are made and released, the saga will certainly be on its way to becoming one of the most prolific franchises in cinema history.