Avatar 2: James Cameron Explains Why He Threatened To Fire The Writer’s Room

Neytiri growling in Avatar

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James Cameron is a visionary filmmaker who is known for pushing new boundaries the world of cinematography and visual effects. 2009's Avatar was no exception, and became the highest grossing movie of all time. The sequels have been a long time coming, although the public remained invested in Pandora thanks to theme park attractions. Cameron is filming the first two sequels simultaneously, and recently revealed why he threatened to fire the writer's room early in the process.

Avatar 2 will arrive in December of 2022, which is over a decade after the original visual spectacle hit theaters. The movie will introduce new concepts, while also presumably reminding us what happened in the previous blockbuster. This first sequel is part of a much larger narrative, but it turns out that James Cameron insisted that the writers stayed focused on what made the original a success. As the Titanic filmmaker recently explained,

When I sat down to write the sequels, I knew there were going to be three at the time and eventually it turned into four. I put together a group of writers and said, ‘I don’t want to hear anybody’s new ideas or anybody’s pitches until we have spent some time figuring out what worked on the first film. What connected, and why it worked.' They kept wanting to talk about the new stories. I said, ‘We aren’t doing that yet.’ Eventually I had to threaten to fire them all because they were doing what writers do, which is to try and create new stories. I said, ‘We need to understand what the connection was. We need to protect it, protect that ember and that flame.'

During his celebrated career as a filmmaker, James Cameron is known for being precise and super detail-oriented. So when it was finally time to return to the Na'vi in Avatar 2, he had a specific way of approaching the story. Namely by focusing in on the original movie's core concepts, before eventually expanding the franchise and sewing new narrative threads.

James Cameron's blunt comments come from his appearance on The Marianne Williamson Podcast. He had a long conversation with the host about Avatar, and the franchise's allegorical messaging about the real-world. Eventually they pivoted to the sequels, where Cameron explained why he threatened to fire the writer's room early in the process.

The original Avatar is currently available on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service. 

The pressure for James Cameron and company to stick the landing with Avatar 2 is sky high, especially since the threequel is already in production as well. It's probably for this reason that Cameron went so far to inspire the writer's room to connect with the original. In the end this is a story about environmentalism, community, love, and redemption. We'll just have to see how those themes translate in the next two Avatar installments. Will the sequels be able to beat the record of its predecessor? Only time will tell.

The secrets of Avatar 2 and 3 are being kept, and there are a ton of questions surrounding the mysterious blockbusters. The sequel will follow up on Jake and Neytiri, as well as their growing family on Pandora. Eventually the RDA will come back to finish what they started, with various Na'vi tributes uniting to defend their home. Fans are particularly curious to see how Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver return, given how both character perished in the original.

Avatar 2 is currently expected to arrive December 16th, 2022. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.