James Cameron should play the lottery because his big gambles always pay off. Titanic? Nailed it. Avatar? Home run. But after that he bet even bigger, spending 10 years crafting four Avatar sequels with the hope that audiences would want to see them all.
The first sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, is now in theaters and how audiences react to it will be a huge factor in how many of those subsequent sequels actually happen. Part three, scheduled for release in December 2024, is all but assured. But parts four and five, which would be out in 2026 and 2028 respectively, are far from guaranteed. So does that mean, if those movies don’t happen, we’ll forever just be wondering about what would’ve happened next? Not at all, says Cameron.
In a new interview, the writer/director explains that with the way he’s structured the five films, if the third film did end up as the last one, the ending would be satisfying because the final two movies are completely different.
“I’ve been thinking about this a lot,” Cameron told Deadline. “[Ending with Avatar 3] is definitely doable, and it would be satisfying. Wouldn’t be as satisfying to me because what happens is, after [Avatar 3], the story goes in a really unexpected direction and three is a natural stopping point. We enter a whole new problem and then that whole problem absorbs Movie 4 and Movie 5. So it’s a natural stopping point. But I don’t like to think in terms of failure, I like to think in terms of success.”
Cameron, of course, wouldn’t say what that whole new problem is. But in an interview with Collider he teased that the studio executive who read the part four script reacted with just two words: “Holy fuck.” So, that’s pretty enticing. Cameron is a realist though. He knows 2022 is a different world than 2009 and isn’t sure people will turn up for The Way of Water as they did the original. But he also says, it won’t be a quick decision.
“I’m just going to not think about it too much for the next three weeks because I think it’ll be the third weekend of release that will tell us what our trajectory is,” the director said. “If we’re shallow or we run long, we’ll make more money. If we fall off quicker, it could be just market forces, it could be attention span, it could be covid. There’s all sorts of things that I can’t predict right now.”
We’ll predict something though. Avatar: The Way of Water is going to do quite well. It’s now in theaters.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.