Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

James Cameron Addresses The Significant Gap Between Avatar Movies

By all accounts, "Avatar: The Way of Water” has achieved remarkable success: becoming the third highest-grossing movie of all time with $2.2 billion at the worldwide box office and earning four nominations at the 2022 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Perhaps even more impressive is that the film accomplished all of this despite fans waiting over a decade for a sequel to "Avatar."

Over the years, there have been a variety of explanations for the film's ludicrously prolonged production, which began back in 2012 when director James Cameron announced he might be filming the sequels to "Avatar" as early as 2013. One of the reported reasons for the film's delay includes Cameron wanting to invent new technology to capture film underwater (and having to wait for that technology to actually exist before shooting). Another is the sheer length of time it took Cameron to write the screenplays for the second, third, and fourth movies in the "Avatar" franchise.

Cameron himself has come out to address the significant time gap between the two films, stating that the writing process is the primary reason for this delay due to the massive amount of time and effort his team spent crafting the world of Pandora.

Cameron says it took a long time to flesh out the epic story of Avatar

Speaking to Deadline about the then-upcoming "Avatar: The Way of Water," James Cameron compared his work on "Avatar: The Way of Water" to the work that director Peter Jackson did with his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, specifically in regards to the depth of worldbuilding that went into creating the "Avatar" sequels.

"We didn't have three novels we could go out and buy. We had to come up with it ourselves, so that took some time, and that's probably the gap between Movie 1 and Movie 2," said Cameron. "Coming up with that story, that epic side with all that level of detail and across ... it was supposed to be a trilogy, and then it kind of grew into four films. We were all pretty happy about that because we liked the story. It's all written, all designed, we've got all our creatures and our habitats and our, you know, every prop that we've got, everything."

Knowing the sheer amount of worldbuilding and creative prep that went into constructing these sequels, it makes a bit more sense that "Avatar: The Way of Water" took over a decade of production before it was finally complete. Cameron's comparison to the worldbuilding of Jackson's trilogy (which is, in essence, the extensive worldbuilding of author J.R.R. Tolkien) should not be taken lightly, as it means that Cameron and his team have fleshed out this story so much that it could compare to the most famous epic fantasy story of all time. In any case, fans can expect the next few installments to arrive much faster than "The Way of Water" and to have been crafted with just as much time and care as the previous two films.