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James Cameron has ideas for 'Avatar' 6 and 7 - if people actually show up to watch the other sequels

The franchise could end as a trilogy or keep going indefinitely.

By Josh Weiss
Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Several weeks back, James Cameron plainly stated that he's ready to end the Avatar franchise after three films (as opposed to the intended five that were originally announced by the studio) if The Way of Water bombs at the box office.

There's lot riding on the long-awaited sequel, which needs to shatter all sorts of financial records just to break even for the Disney-owned 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox). If all goes well, however, and audiences show the same support they did in 2009 for the second and third entires in the blockbuster saga, then Cameron has another option: continue the story beyond five chapters. Chatting with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss his return to Pandora, the celebrated filmmaker revealed that he does have early ideas for sixth and seventh Avatar projects if there's enough moviegoing demand for them.

"I’d be 89 by then," he said, going on to add that while he probably wouldn't be the one to direct them, he'd need to choose a suitable replacement. "Obviously, I’m not going to be able to make Avatar movies indefinitely, the amount of energy required. I would have to train somebody how to do this because, I don’t care how smart you are as a director, you don’t know how to do this."

Cameron also has the option to adapt the property for the world of streaming (just imagine the bidding war), though he doesn't think the groundbreaking technology he's using to make the Avatar features is ready to be strained by an intensive television schedule. 

“The problem with these CG characters is that they’re so cost- and labor-intensive that it really doesn’t work for TV,” he explained. “Now, come back in 10 years, with a lot of machine deep learning. Insert it into our pipeline, which we hope to do, over time. We might be able to get to a TV schedule, but it doesn’t interest me right now."

Set a decade after the events of the first movie, The Way of Water finds Jake (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), and their children fleeing to the coast when the Resources Development Administration returns to once again ravage their planet's natural beauty. The family is taken in by the water-dwelling Metkayina tribe led by Ronal (Kate Winslet re-teaming with Cameron for the first time since Titanic) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis). Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, and Giovanni Ribisi round out the cast.

Cameron shares screenplay credit with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. He came up with the original screen story with Jaffa, Silver, Josh Friedman, and Shane Salerno. The director produced the sequel alongside regular partner, Jon Landau. David Valdes and Richard Baneham serve as executive producers.

Avatar: The Way of Water hits the big screen Friday, Dec. 16. The third installment is slated for release on Dec. 20, 2024.

Looking for more high concept science fiction? Jordan Peele's Nope is exclusively streaming on Peacock.