James Cameron’s 9-year-old film and franchise-to-be Avatar received a nice shot of adrenaline last year when Disney opened a Pandora-themed section to its Animal Kingdom in Orlando. It’s an innovative take on adapting a movie to a theme park, set a good amount of time after the events of the original movie where Na’vi and humans achieved peace and Pandora can be visited by tourists. Banal commercialization of space exploration aside, it’s an ambitious and frankly beautiful area that mirrors the big plans Cameron and his team have for Avatar.
In a recent interview, producer Jon Landau hinted a few details about the sequels, and they sound properly James Cameron big. Instead of all five films focusing on the Na’Vi from the Valley of Mo’ara like the first film, different clans of Na’Vi from all over the planet with different cultures and lifestyles will be examined. They may even look and act different from each other, just like us!
Even more exciting though was Landau promising a wide variety of ecosystems. You want water? Boom! Seafaring Na’vi. Desert? Sand Na’vi, here ya go. Wait, no, now I’m mixing up Avatars. Regardless, Landau stressed the detail and care the sequels will place on world-building. The sequels want Pandora to be a fully fledged planet, not just one green screened valley.
I was 14 when the first Avatar came out and can’t remember a single character’s name but still vividly recreate the banshee scenes in my mind. It show’s Cameron and compadres do understand that the Avatar franchise is for the viewers to explore and interact with more than the cookie cutter plot or simple characters. That’s why even the rides have little mention of the conflict from the first film. And there certainly is nothing wrong with going to a movie to look at pretty things. Avatar 2-5 will be released in 2020, 2021, 2024 and 2025 respectively (or so they say).