Any day is a good day to chat with writer/director/explorer extraordinaire James Cameron. Particularly when said chat results in a few new details about the second, third and possibly fourth "Avatar" films.
It was recently reported, via commentary from producer Jon Landau, that Cameron and company will only be shooting a second and third film back-to-back, and not a fourth as was originally rumored. That's not to say that a fourth film isn't going to happen, however, especially if Cameron's creative plans for the plot of said film come to fruition.
"I have an idea for a fourth," Cameron told MTV News when we caught up with him at a press event for "Titanic." (A new collector's edition of the record-breaking movie hits home video on September 10.) "I haven't really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na'vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world."
"Because when we drop in, even in the first film in 'Avatar 1,' as it will be known in the future, we're dropping into a process that's 35 years in to a whole colonization," Cameron continued of his interest in an "Avatar" prequel. "That will complete an arc and if that leads into more, we'll start, not imitating 'Star Wars,' but it's a logical thing to do because we'll have completed the thematic arc by the end of three. The only thing left to do is go back to see what it was like on those first expeditions and create some new characters that then become legacy characters in later films. It's a plan."
Before he can get to "Avatar 4," however, Cameron needs to shoot the next two films in the series. At the moment, he and his team are "working on it," trying to simplify the process of creating the visually complex Pandora.
"We've spent two years refining the whole pipeline," said the filmmaker. "It was a hideously complex process to make that film and a lot has been said about that, but we don't want it to be done in the same prototypical way as the first one, we want it to be a much smoother workflow just for creativity reasons."
That "creativity" factor isn't something to be ignored, either. Cameron said he's still working on the story for the next two "Avatar" films, a daunting process "because I'm writing two scripts together as one big thing."
"You know, Peter Jackson had it easy, he already had the books," he cracked. "He had the books. Now if I had a time machine I could go forward and watch the movies and then come back, but I don't!"
Check out everything we've got on "Avatar 2."