Comic Book Curious


January 4, 2023

Since the original release of Avatar in 2009, the first of four sequels finally hit our screen in December 2022. The Avatar Franchise is the passion project of famous filmmaker James Cameron. He started writing Avatar in 1994 and has been working hard on the Avatar project since the first release of the original film in 2009. James Cameron is also famously known for The Terminator franchise, Titanic, and many other groundbreaking movies.

Avatar: The Way of Water was initially scheduled for release in 2014, which was then moved further to December 2020 before the final date change and eventual release in December 2022. But why did it take 13 years before The Way of Water was finally released? One simple and main reason is that James Cameron didn't rush. The Avatar project has always been known as majorly a personal project for James Cameron, and the Avatar franchise may be the finest production of his career by the time it's complete. He also waited for technology to catch up to his vision to tell the story properly. Cameron openly discusses an arc planned for all five Avatar movies.

Pressure from fans and production companies can cause filmmakers, creatives, and the like to run the risk of rushing out a bad product, or they can take all the time in the world and miss the buzz altogether. James Cameron is well aware of this and how franchises fail when stories of that magnitude (such as long multi-movie narratives) are constructed on a bit-by-bit basis. In addition to this, adding more films to the franchise delayed the movie's release.

Coronavirus played a massive part in the production of the movie. The world was faced with this pandemic, and everything was put to a stop, including this movie's filming.

James Cameron watching Avatar filming.

Credit: James Cameron

Avatar: The Way of Water begins on the planet of Pandora to tell the story of Jake Sully and his family. The trouble that follows them is due to humans returning to get Pandora's valuable resources for greed and colonizing Pandora with destructive and technological advancement. Jake then leads an army of blue people to attack the supply of human operations. As a result of that, Jake and his family become endangered, and they have to flee to keep each other safe. They seek refuge with the amphibious Metkayina tribe of the eastern seaboard, led by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and Ronal (Kate Winslet). Tonowari was willing to receive them, but Ronal needed serious convincing before she accepted Jake and his family. Jake and his family have to learn the way of water to be able to adapt and survive among the Metkayina. The humans searched around Pandora's planet till they found Jake. Jake and his family faced many tragedies just to stay alive, leading to his first son's death. He had to fight to save his people again.

Credit: James Cameron

Credit: James Cameron

Avatar: The Way of Water has been well received by the audience. The movie has been 13 years in the making. Here are some facts about the film that you might find interesting and want to know about!

  • While viewers waited for the release, they were promised three more sequels, with each releasing every two years, expanding the franchise into a pentalogy film series. However, director James Cameron also noted that they might have to cut off this five-part film sequel into a trilogy if the sequel does not meet expectations. In an interview, he said, "The market could be telling us we're done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: 'OK, let's complete the story within movie three, and not go on endlessly,' if it's just not profitable."
  • The movie's filming began in August 2017, and after three years of shooting, it was concluded in 2020. According to reports, the budget for the film's production alone was $250 million, making it one of the most expensive movie productions in history. Although James Cameron is yet to give any official figures yet.
  • According to reports, It has been revealed that while filming the movie, the cast had to act inside giant water tanks frequently to make the scenes underwater appear more realistic on the big screen. James Cameron made it known that they hired the world's best breath-hold specialists to help the casts learn how to "free-dive" and stay underwater during shoots. It was also revealed that Kate Winslet (Ronal, a new face in The Way of Water. The spiritual leader of the Metkayina clan, and a mother of two children, also pregnant for the third) held her breath underwater for seven minutes and 15 seconds for a scene. Which meant she broke the record held by Tom Cruise, who spent six minutes without breathing underwater for "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation."
  • In a recent interview, James Cameron revealed the film would've run 10 minutes longer if he hadn't cut out some scenes with gun violence. The filmmaker said he no longer is interested in objectifying guns in his action scenes, given the rampant gun violence in the United States of America. He said, "I actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie targeting gunplay action," He added "I wanted to get rid of some of the ugliness, to find a balance between light and dark. You have to have conflict, of course. Violence and action are the same thing, depending on how you look at it. This is the dilemma of every action filmmaker, and I'm known as an action filmmaker." James Cameron also said earlier in the interview, "I look back on some films that I've made, and I don't know if I would want to make that film now. I don't know if I would want to fetishize the gun, like I did on a couple of 'Terminator' movies 30-plus years ago, in our current world. What's happening with guns in our society turns my stomach." Cameron added, "I'm happy to be living in New Zealand, where they just banned all assault rifles two weeks after that horrific mosque shooting a couple of years ago," Cameron added in his interview.
  • There was also an introduction of a new clan, the Metkayina Clan of the eastern seaboard, who are reef-dwellers whose lifestyle and clan is adapted to Pandora's aquatic habitat. They are distinguishable slightly by their different skin colors.

Credit: James Cameron

James Cameron remains fully devoted to nature conservation and mainly to the protection of the oceans. His movies always address one of the strongest human passions, which is love. Just like the movie "Titanic," "Avatar" features more than amazing scenery, the latest camera technology, and a strong message regarding the climate crisis. Lead actress Zoe Saldana (Neytiri, a warrior and a protective mother, Jake's significant other) says in an interview: "It's a love story at its core." Fall in love with James Cameron’s work, we have. I cannot wait to do it all over again with the rest of this series!

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