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Thus far Avatar has been used primarily as a buzzword to market 3D movies, with the basic idea that if you shelled out extra to see a legitimately good movie in 3D, you'll do the same to see crap like Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans. But somehow it's taken this long for a studio to start developing a movie that they claim will actually have a plot like Avatar's. Unsurprisingly it's coming from Fox, a studio that will be reaping the profits off those blue aliens for years to come.

According to Deadline Hollywood, the studio has set Channing Tatum as the star of Ion, an original spec script from Will Dunn about a man traveling through space and different dimension to find "his reincarnated lover." No, I don't know what that means, nor do I have any idea how this might be like Avatar, other than that it's set in space and has romantic elements. What's extra bizarre is that the script made the studio rounds last year and was ignored, until Fox apparently recognized they could cash in on Avatar without having to pay James Cameron to direct a sequel.

The most encouraging thing about this-- besides the fact that Tatum, who I inexplicably love, still gets to be an action star-- is that Dunn's script is an original idea, and not some harebrained attempt to turn Asteroids or Zardoz into the next great sci-fi project. Say what you will about the derivative elements of Avatar, but it became such a global hit because it really was something new. Even if Dunn's movie is getting made entirely because it evokes an earlier film, I'm holding out hope it will feel fresh too.

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