Earlier this year, Avatar director James Cameron revealed that he spent an entire year writing a sequel he ended up completely scrapping. By the time Avatar: The Way of Water is released in theaters, it will have been thirteen years since the first movie was released, and Cameron has certainly had plenty of time to mull over ideas.
As for that cancelled follow-up, it was set to be titled Avatar: The Higher Ground.
"I was working with a team of writers. We had a lot of ideas," Cameron tells Total Film. "We kept trying to corral it into a box and it never quite fit. So at a certain point, I said, ‘I’ll just finish it, and see if it’s a movie.’ I did. It came out, I think, at 130 pages. It was like, ‘Man, this is a great story. This is a hell of a read.'"
The filmmaker went on to say the sequel was scrapped because "it was missing one of those critical elements about sequels, which is that it didn’t go enough into the unexpected. It also didn’t play enough by ‘Avatar’ rules, which is to connect us to the dream world, that which has a spiritual component that we can’t even quite quantify in words."
"It ticked every other box, but it didn’t tick that one."
Despite it not becoming a reality, Cameron confirms he included some ideas from the script in both The Way of Water and an upcoming graphic novel. There's one element he does wish we'd been able to see on screen, though.
"I mean, you’ve got the Na’vi fighting with bows and arrows in zero-G. I mean, I’m there! I want to see that movie. But it just didn’t achieve enough of the overall story and thematic goals that I had in mind. So we’re turning it into a Dark Horse graphic novel. You’ll be able to see that interim battle that took place between movie one and movie two."
Avatar 3 has already been shot, and the director hopes to release at least two more instalments. With any luck, we'll get some sort of badass zero-G action somewhere down the line!
Avatar: The Way of Water splashes down in theaters worldwide on December 16.