If a $53.3 million holiday weekend proves successful enough to keep M. Night Shyamalan around for a "Last Airbender" sequel, he knows what he wants to do — and he wants to do it darkly. Asked about his intentions going forward, the "Sixth Sense" and "Signs" director confirmed that he has much of "The Last Airbender 2" already mapped out.
"I do," Shyamalan told MTV News. "The third is more ambiguous, but the second one, I've written a draft that I'm really happy with and is darker and richer, and it has a wonderful antagonist in it in Azula, who's kind of like our only real, pure antagonist in the series, so I'm excited about that."
His description of the story implies that Summer Bishil's character from the film currently in theaters has plenty left to do onscreen as Aang (Noah Ringer) continues his fight against the Fire Nation.
As far as what the story will be about and which characters could enter or exit the cast, those decisions may have to wait for Paramount's decision on the franchise's fate. If things proceed, Shyamalan has already shared a few details that could play into his intentions. The elite female Kyoshi Warriors, for instance, will likely play a larger role.
"I probably won't show the Kyoshi Warriors because I want to save them for the second movie, because I'm going to have to introduce them all over again," he said while explaining what would and would not show up in the "Last Airbender" DVD and Blu-ray's deleted scenes.
The characters were initially included in the first film, but circumstances and editing decisions eventually moved them out of the spotlight.
"We shot [the scene] and [the Kyoshi Warriors] were amazing, and we spent an unbelievable amount of time choreographing them," he said. "And they just distracted from the movie, because the movie wasn't about them."
Given that he became much more comfortable with filming in 3-D during his first "Airbender," another round of 3-D filming with the same crew would make sense unless Hollywood's affection for the evolving medium changes overnight.
In the meantime, Shyamalan sounds like he's ready to go if and when an "Airbender" sequel gets the go-ahead.
Check out everything we've got on "The Last Airbender."