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James Cameron's Vivid Imagination Saved Avatar From A Lot Of Legal Grief

The visions of hugely successful filmmaker James Cameron have served him well over the years. He was famously first inspired to create "The Terminator" after a fever dream involving a sinister mechanical exoskeleton, surrounded by flames. The box-office success of the 1984 sci-fi action film effectively launched his career. According to Collider, he then pitched the 1987 blockbuster "Aliens" to executives by writing "ALIEN" on a whiteboard, adding an S, then changing it into a dollar sign.

From there, the director made some of the biggest, highest-grossing films of the 1990s, including "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" and "True Lies." His 1997 blockbuster "Titanic" even held the record of being the highest-grossing film ever for years.

Cameron still credits his dreams for helping him grow as an artist, telling GQ, "I have my own private streaming service that's better than any of that s*** out there." They're also why no one else can take credit for "Avatar."

Cameron first dreamed of Pandora when he was 19

Like "The Terminator," the seed for the "Avatar" films and the planet of Pandora originally appeared to a young James Cameron when he was asleep. The filmmaker explained to GQ, "I woke up after dreaming of this kind of bioluminescent forest with these trees that look kind of like fiber-optic lamps and this river that was glowing bioluminescent particles and kind of purple moss on the ground that lit up when you walked on it."

Cameron immediately drew out what he'd dreamt of the night before. However, it was years before he'd revisit the idea, creating the 2009 blockbuster "Avatar" from his original image. Having kept the drawing over the years, Cameron mused, "it saved us from about 10 lawsuits."

It's possible that Cameron was speaking facetiously, but it's easy to see how such a drawing would easily dismiss inevitable claims for creative credit for the world of Pandora. In the end, Cameron's movies are so singular that it's impossible to imagine him plagiarizing other filmmakers and artists.