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James Cameron Tests Positive For COVID, Will Miss Avatar Premiere

"Avatar: The Way of Water" will be missing its visionary leader as it makes its Hollywood debut this evening. Per Deadline, James Cameron has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. According to a representative from the Walt Disney Company, the director received the result via routine coronavirus testing. Cameron is reportedly asymptomatic and feeling well, though he has made the decision not to attend the star-studded Los Angeles event (he likely doesn't want to risk spreading the virus to other attendees). Deadline relays that he will be meeting his forthcoming "Avatar" responsibilities in a virtual capacity. Cameron himself told the publication that he contracted the virus on the plane ride from Tokyo (where the film premiered just one day earlier) to Los Angeles. "I'm isolated and can't go to my own premiere tonight," Cameron lamented.

The long-awaited sequel reunites Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana as Jake Sully and Neytiri, lovers from two different worlds who fought against human interests to protect the Na'vi home world of Pandora. Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang are also set to return, despite the deaths of their original "Avatar" characters, while "Titanic" star Kate Winslet joins the world as a brand new character called Ronal. Projected to open to as much as $180 million (per Business Insider), it's undeniably sad that Cameron won't be there to see its U.S. send-off — especially since such an outing is now rare for the director.

James Cameron will miss what would have been his first Hollywood premiere since 2009

As Variety notes, James Cameron hasn't led a Hollywood premiere since the release of the original 2009 "Avatar." With well over a decade between the two films, it would have been exciting for fans and creatives in California to have the opportunity to celebrate the director's triumphant return in person — if early reactions are to be believed, "Avatar: The Way of Water" is every bit as gorgeous and groundbreaking as its predecessor. "The number of people I've told over the years, 'ah, we'll catch up and I'll see you at the premiere..." Cameron told Deadline, "well, I guess not. Man proposes, and God disposes..."

Though he will be absent from its U.S. opening, Cameron was present for the sequel's world premiere in London earlier this month (via The Hollywood Reporter). "I've been working on the production for this for five years," he said at the event, "and realizing it's done ... it's kind of like Zen meditation..." He'll have another chance to debut an "Avatar" film stateside soon with its untitled third installment, which Cameron speculates will open in just a couple of years (via Digital Spy).