It was the announcement nobody expected and nobody asked for: on Thursday James Cameron turned up in a surprise appearance at CinemaCon during the 20th Century Fox presentation and announced that a whopping four more Avatar movies were in the pipeline, with the first one, or Avatar 2, due out in 2018.
This isn’t the first time Cameron has teased new Avatar movies since the original, which came out in 2009, became and remains to this day the highest grossing movie of all time, despite losing out to Cameron’s ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow’s movie, Hurt Locker, for Best Director at the Oscars in the same year. Originally Cameron had teased two Avatar sequels prior to the release of the first movie, before steadily ramping up the ante through a series of announcements, schedule changes and script tweaking to reach his most recent declaration of four movies by 2023.
Weirdly, despite Avatar being the highest grossing movie of all time, it has left a somewhat lacking cultural footprint, with many fans and critics agreeing, it seems, that the world neither wants nor needs another Avatar movie, let alone four. They took to Twitter to air their frustrations at what seems to be another James Cameron vanity project, and the resulting commentary was hilarious.
Some commented on the disappointing nature of the first Avatar, both its story and visuals…
I think forcing James Cameron to grind away at unwanted Avatar sequels for the next decade is a perfectly just & appropriate punishment.
— Anil Dash (@anildash) April 14, 2016
…while others just want James Cameron to stop, please, and check his ego.
Dear James Cameron,
Just focus on one sequel for now.
All of Us
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) April 14, 2016
James Cameron is handing out Avatar sequels like an 80s movie high-school principal hands out detention. "YOU WANNA MAKE IT SIX? KEEP IT UP"
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) April 14, 2016
Many think Cameron may have gone too far, and is now assimilating into the Na’vi himself:
Despite all the hate and joking around, there are some commentators who are looking forward to what four more Avatar movies might bring to the world.
Weirdly, since the announcement on Thursday, alongside some humorous fun-poking at Cameron himself, there has also been some very strange, very internetty revelations about the cultural context of Avatar, including this guy’s account of how the 2009 film literally made him shit himself, and this (now de-bunked) quote which suggested that the sequels were basically Cameron throwing a temper-tantrum.
Also, while researching this article (read: scrolling through Twitter), I discovered that there is actually a showing of Avatar at the Hackney Picturehouse (London) next Friday night, in case you’re interested.
Kirsty Capes – Follow me on Twitter