James Cameron is prepared to end Avatar franchise with third movie — pending ticket sales

James Cameron is prepared to end Avatar franchise with third movie — pending ticket sales

Avatar director James Cameron has plotted an ambitious slate of sequels to his history-making movie. The first, Avatar: The Way of Water, swings into theaters on Dec. 16, and he's got three more in the works, with the fifth film slated to release in 2028. But Cameron, it seems, is also a realist.

The filmmaker says that if nobody watches The Way of Water, he's prepared to let Avatar 3 close out the franchise.

"The market could be telling us we're done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: 'OK, let's complete the story within movie three, and not go on endlessly,' if it's just not profitable," Cameron told Total Film.

"We're in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even," he added. "It's the one-two punch — the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we'll remind people what going to the theater is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is: how many people give a s--- now?"

Avatar The Way of Water
Avatar The Way of Water

20th Century Studios The Na'vi meet the Metkayina water tribe in 'Avatar: The Way of Water.'

The first Avatar starred Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, a wheelchair-bound Marine veteran who joins the Resources Development Administration on Pandora, a moon populated by the native Na'vi. There, he participates in the company's Avatar Program, which places the consciousness of subjects into human/Na'vi hybrid bodies in order to safely traverse the terrain. Zoe Saldaña starred as Neytiri, a Na'vi with whom Jake falls in love amid a colonialist and environmental war with the RDA.

Avatar broke records when it was released in 2009, becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time. The record has been challenged in recent years by Avengers: Endgame, though recent re-releases of Avatar have helped secured its record.

Avatar: The Way of Water will pick up years later with Jake (in his Na'vi body) and Neytiri living on Pandora with their growing family. Events will place them in the path of the Metkayina, a water tribe of Na'vi who live in the shallows of the Pandoran ocean. Kate Winslet and Cliff Curtis portray Ronal and Tonowari, leaders of the Metkayina.

Cameron has confirmed to EW that the third film is already shot, so it's likely to meet its Dec. 20, 2024 release date. The director also told EW that "part of 4" is already shot as well.

As of now, Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 are slated for Dec. 18, 2026 and Dec. 22, 2028, respectively. Should Disney move forward with these plans, Cameron has already stated that he might not direct all of them.

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