James Cameron. Pic/AFP
Filmmaker James Cameron said that before *Avatar: The Way of Water* there was a full *Avatar 2* screenplay that was written and then thrown into the trash.
It turns out that at least an entire year of the 13-year gap between 2009*s *Avatar* and 2022*s *The Way of Water* was spent on a screenplay that will never see the light of day.
"When I sat down with my writers to start *Avatar 2,* I said we cannot do the next one until we understand why the first one did so well," Cameron told The Times UK, report *Variety*.
"We must crack the code of what the hell happened."
Cameron and his team came to the following conclusion: "All films work on different levels. The first is surface, which is character, problem and resolution. The second is thematic. What is the movie trying to say? But *Avatar* also works on a third level, the subconscious. I wrote an entire script for the sequel, read it and realised that it did not get to level three. Boom. Start over. That took a year."
During an appearance on *The Marianne Williamson Podcast* last year, Cameron elaborated more on this third level that he believes allowed *Avatar* to become the highest-grossing movie of all time at the worldwide box office.
"There was a tertiary level as well... It was a dreamlike sense of a yearning to be there, to be in that space, to be in a place that is safe and where you wanted to be," Cameron said.
"Whether that was flying, that sense of freedom and exhilaration, or whether it*s being in the forest where you can smell the earth. It was a sensory thing that communicated on such a deep level. That was the spirituality of the first film."
Cameron revealed in the same interview that he nearly fired his *Avatar* sequel writers because they were initially so dead set on creating new stories as opposed to figuring out the DNA that made the first movie a record-breaker.
"When I sat down to write the sequels, I knew there were going to be three at the time and eventually it turned into four, I put together a group of writers and said, *I don*t want to hear anybody*s new ideas or anyone*s pitches until we have spent some time figuring out what worked on the first film, what connected, and why it worked*," Camerons said.
"They kept wanting to talk about the new stories. I said, *We aren*t doing that yet.* Eventually I had to threaten to fire them all because they were doing what writers do, which is to try and create new stories."
"I said, *we need to understand what the connection was and protect it, protect that ember and that flame*."
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