Why James Cameron wants to add Chinese Na'vi to the Avatar sequel

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Dec 17, 2012

James Cameron's Avatar was one of the biggest hits of the past decade, and we've heard a lot about how he wants to turn the alien tale into a franchise that will last the next several years. To make the sequels even more internationally viable, Cameron now plans to add some cultural diversity to the tall, blue race of aliens. Say hello to the Chinese Na'vi.

Cameron recently partnered up with the Tianjin North Film Group and Tianjin Hi-Tech Holding Group for some 3D production services, and he told The Hollywood Reporter some work on the sequels will likely take place in China, along with the U.S.

Why? Because China is one of the fastest growing film markets for American movies, and he'd like to make sure viewers there will also be enticed to check it out:

"Within five years, China could easily be as big a gross-revenue market for film as North America, and there are very specific economic incentives for having both Chinese content and Chinese co-production. We are already funded on Avatar 2 and 3, but if we qualify as a co-production, there might be some incentives in the percentage of revenue we can take out of China. We are running the numbers to see if that makes sense."
To make it all work, Cameron said you may soon see Chinese Na'vi strolling the world of Pandora, as well as Chinese actors in more live action roles:
"For Avatar, we can certainly use Chinese actors as performance capture actors because any accent issues will hide within the Na'vi accent ... So we can have Chinese Na'vi; [and in the live-action sequences] we can also have Chinese actors who speak English in the film. We are projecting a future in Avatar, and if you project that future out, it is logical that there would be a number of Chinese amongst the contingent on Pandora."
It makes sense to open up the franchise to some cultural diversity, but the lingering concern is that this could become a distraction if it feels tacked-on just for the sake of doing it. What do you think?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)