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Think Of Avatar: The Way Of Water Like A TV Series Wrapped Up In One Movie

In the current era of prestige television, much has been made of TV shows that feel like one long movie. Even film critics have blurred the lines between television and cinema. At the end of 2019, the venerated French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma named David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: The Return" the best film of the decade (via Indiewire).

Still, it's less common to hear the opposite — that a film can function as a compact television series. But James Cameron is no ordinary filmmaker, and his long-awaited follow-up to 2009's "Avatar" is shaping up to be no ordinary film. With big characters and an even bigger budget, "Avatar: The Way of Water" reunites Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña as fierce warriors Jake Sully and Neytiri. The Pandora couple now has a gaggle of kids, one of whom is voiced by Sigourney Weaver.

With a three-plus-hour runtime and an entirely new underwater biome to explore, "The Way of Water" is bigger in scope and scale than its forebear. Here's how Cameron envisioned the "Avatar" sequel as a television series.

James Cameron says The Rings of Power inspired The Way of Water

In a conversation between James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez for Variety, Cameron said he looked to another modern epic for inspiration: Amazon's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power." "If you look at something like 'The Rings of Power,' with those multiple storylines and interesting characters, that's what I was aspiring to," Cameron said.

With no preexisting lore or source text to look to for guidance when writing "Avatar: The Way of Water," Cameron was in a unique position. "They had a guide; I didn't. I had to write my own 'Silmarillion' or 'Lord of the Rings' in the form of notes," he explained.

While Cameron is the primary architect of all things "Avatar," he also noted his inclination to work with a team, and in that way channel the production of a TV show or miniseries. "I also didn't want to do it all alone," he said. "I knew that I was going to do multiple movies, so I created a little writers' room like you would for a TV show."

"Avatar: The Way of Water" opens December 16.