When it comes to his directorial output, James Cameron has been focused solely on the “Avatar” franchise for well over a decade now. In the 13 years since the original “Avatar” opened in theaters and became the highest-grossing film of all time, Cameron has developed four sequels and shot two of them in full (“Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Avatar 3”). Parts of “Avatar 4” have also been shot. Should Cameron’s franchise go according to plan, “Avatar 4” will complete production and “Avatar 5” will be filmed in its entirety.
Suffice to say, it’s quite possible the 68-year-old Cameron only directs “Avatar” movies for the rest of his career. Not that that’s a problem for Cameron. Taking part in a massive Q&A with fellow directors for Empire magazine, Cameron said that there’s enough stories and technological breakthroughs for him to develop in the “Avatar” movies that he doesn’t feel like the franchise is robbing his career of new ideas.
More from Variety
“I am sure you will have many more stories/ideas that you want to tell,” “RRR” director S. S. Rajamouli told Cameron. “Do you ever feel bad that you are not able to tell them [because of all the work on ‘Avatar’]?”
“Hi, S.S. Two thoughts in answer to your question: the first is that the world of ‘Avatar’ is so sprawling that I can tell most of the stories I want to tell within it and try many of the stylistic techniques that I hope to explore,” Cameron answered. “And secondly, yes… our time as artists is finite. I will always mourn some of the stories that I don’t get to make.”
“I feel a great satisfaction when other directors want to explore some of my ideas, like Kathryn Bigelow did with ‘Strange Days,’ and Robert Rodriguez did when I passed him the baton on ‘Alita: Battle Angel,'” Cameron added. “I look forward to more collaborations in the future with directors I admire.”
Cameron had long wanted to direct “Alita: Battle Angel,” but he passed the project on to Robert Rodriguez in order to develop the “Avatar” sequels. Cameron remained an executive producer on “Alita” and he stayed involved creatively all through filming and post-production. It appears Cameron could take this approach with other movie ideas he has should “Avatar” continue to be his priority.
Earlier this year, Cameron said that he does have other film ideas percolating. He even floated the idea of passing some of the “Avatar” movies off to other directors so that he can go and helm a different movie.
“The ‘Avatar’ films themselves are kind of all-consuming,” Cameron told Empire over the summer. “I’ve got some other things I’m developing as well that are exciting. I think eventually over time – I don’t know if that’s after three or after four – I’ll want to pass the baton to a director that I trust to take over, so I can go do some other stuff that I’m also interested in. Or maybe not. I don’t know.”
“Avatar: The Way of Water” is now playing in theaters nationwide.
Best of Variety