James Cameron Removed A Chunk Of Avatar 2 Because He Hates Guns

James Cameron says he cut around 10 minutes out of Avatar: The Way of Water because he no longer wants to "fetishize" gun violence in his films.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

james cameron avatar 2

James Cameron says that he’s done featuring gun violence in his films, beginning with Avatar 2. According to an interview with Esquire, the Titanic filmmaker, who’s currently seeing the dollar signs quickly add up via his latest blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water, said that he chose to “cut about 10 minutes” of the sequel with scenes involving the hotly debated weapon. While the follow-up to 2009’s groundbreaking Avatar still relies heavily on action and drama, Cameron simply decided that he had seen enough “gunplay” in Hollywood and was ready to give audiences something different. 

James Cameron went on to reveal that he wanted Avatar 2 to better “find a balance between light and dark,” and not lean so heavily on “the ugliness” that gun violence portrays. As a self-proclaimed “action filmmaker,” the True Lies director said that finding a way to toe that line is the “dilemma of every action filmmaker,” adding that he knew he needed to step away from gun violence because of “what’s happening with guns in our society.” Proud to be a New Zealand resident, Cameron added that he was “happy” that the country immediately prohibited assault rifle sales after the “horrific mosque shooting” that took place in 2019. 

James Cameron’s major decision to no longer include gun violence in films like Avatar 2 may come as a shock to many fans who remember the iconic director for helming the first two Terminator films as well as 1986’s Aliens. All three of these features certainly didn’t shy away from action-packed gun-blasting scenes, something the director absolutely takes accountability for all these years later. During his Esquire interview, Cameron mentioned that he no longer wanted to “fetishize” the weapon in the ways that he did “on a couple of ‘Terminator’ movies 30-plus years ago.” 

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He added that the current state of affairs that has seen gun violence constantly on the rise makes his stomach churn. Recognizing that things just aren’t as they once were, James Cameron says that in our “current world” he doesn’t see the need to glorify gun usage even in a movie like Avatar 2. Happily leading the charge on removing depictions of firearm violence in his films, we’re thinking this is just the beginning of fewer guns in Hollywood.

With the creation of Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 almost a guarantee, it’s safe to say that James Cameron will hold fast to his anti-gun stance and keep it out of the films just like in Avatar 2. With the sequel continuing to dominate the global box office, it’s obvious that fans just can’t get enough of the imaginative and creative world that Cameron created all those years ago. And, with recent statements that he’s made surrounding the studio’s response to the threequel and fourquel (just go with it), the best is yet to come. 

For those who may not know, the James Cameron-helmed Avatar 2 transports audiences back to the vibrant world of Pandora to join Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) on a brand new journey. Over a decade has passed since the events of the first film and the couple has started a family only to face a new set of perils that threatens to tear them apart. Featuring a slew of top-tier Hollywood talent and both new and old-to-the-franchise faces, the film also stars Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Stephen Lang, Edie Falco, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Cliff Curtis, Jemaine Clement, Britain Dalton, Brendan Cowell, Jamie Flatters, and Trinity Jo-Li Bliss.