There are two people whose opinions on James Cameron and his approach to moviemaking have to be treated as Gospel: Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sigourney Weaver. These two powerhouse actors gave their all in some of Cameron’s most incredible works, and their collaborations with the Terminator and Titanic filmmaker date back decades. They have seen the Cameron machine up close, numerous times, so when they speak out to elaborate on the blockbuster filmmaker’s process -- especially on something as anticipated as Cameron’s Avatar 2 -- we tend to sit up and pay closer attention.
Sigourney Weaver explored a different side of her classic Alien character, Ellen Ripley, when she teamed with James Cameron for the explosive sequel, Aliens. It was a huge deal when Weaver returned to Cameron World to play Dr. Grace Augustine in 2009’s Avatar… and an even bigger deal that she’s returning for Avatar 2 (you know, because Grace died in Avatar). It has since been revealed that Weaver will play a new character in the sequels, but what keeps propelling Weaver to work with Cameron? Speaking with Collider about why she loves working with Cameron, Weaver explained:
The way I look at Jim’s movies, what I think will surprise people is what amazingly intense emotional stories these are. So, yes, we did great state-of-the-art performance capture and goodness knows all of the other things that he’s doing underwater, that will be dazzling technically. What I really admire is that he’s often invented a lot of these things because he wants the emotional power of the stories to come through. In that sense, he’s a real traditionalist, as well. He’s not doing far off, crazy sci-fi stuff. He’s really telling a very intimate story about an indigenous people and the corporations that come and almost wipe them out.
This isn’t that far off from the way that you can describe almost all of James Cameron’s biggest hits. He’s far more of a Romantic than he is a set-piece stager -- though, make no mistake, very few can craft a set piece the way that Cameron does. But Titanic really is a love story that happens to be set on the world’s most famous shipwreck. The Terminator essentially becomes a love story through the ages, just one that’s celebrated between a man and a woman who are on the run from a murderous machine.
We don’t doubt that Avatar 2 will continue to lean into the “intimate story” that can be found at the heart of Avatar, the narrative that beats underneath all of the things that James Cameron does on a technical level to continuously change the way that we watch movies. There is no denying that he increased the industry’s interest in 3D with the original Avatar, and that fad lasted for several years before filmmakers stopped trying to chase Cameron’s wizardry. We can’t imagine what he has in store for when Avatar 2 drops.
When will that happen? As of right now, Avatar 2 is due in theaters on December 16, 2022. It’s supposed to be followed parts 3, 4 and 5, which will keep Cameron in Pandora through 2028. See you then.