James Cameron Reveals Avatar Script That Stunned Studio Executives

By Britta DeVore | Published

James Cameron Avatar 4

Oftentimes filmmakers clash with studio execs when it comes to their specific vision for a script and storyline. Take Patty Jenkins for example, who recently bowed out on her tenure of helming the Wonder Woman franchise after the top dogs at DC Studios asked her to take her story of Diana Prince in another direction. With the release of Avatar: The Way of Water, the second in James Cameron’s Avatar franchise about to arrive in theaters, the famed Titanic director revealed that his script for what will hopefully be Avatar 4 received absolutely zero notes from those at the top.

James Cameron dropped the subtle brag about Avatar 4 during an interview with Collider during which he was promoting his upcoming sequel. While a fourth film is still up in the air, The Terminator director said that the incident came as somewhat of a shock to him as when he passed off the treatment for The Way of Water, he was handed back “three pages of notes.” Planning a threequel to go into production sometime soon, Cameron revealed that even when he “turned in the script for three, [the studio] gave me a page of notes,” quipping, “so I was getting better.”

James Cameron Avatar 4

They say that practice makes perfect, and that’s exactly how James Cameron has seen his work on the fan-favorite franchise, saying that by Avatar 4, the studio didn’t have any complaints. In fact, he says that the executives actually cheered him on via email, telling the celebrated director that he blew their minds with his script by simply writing, “Holy f***.” When he inquired about the expected slurry of notes, his bosses said, “those are the notes,” with Cameron teasing that the fourth installment will go a little off the rails but “in a good way.”

During his interview, James Cameron added that even though it’s still possible that Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 won’t go into production, as it all comes down to the box office numbers for The Way of Water, he was expected to present scripts for each before completing the second film. For his inspiration? Cameron turned to Peter Jackson’s legendary take on The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

While Jackson had the source material via the original book series by J.R.R. Tolkien, James Cameron knew that all the power was in his hands to mold Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 in a way that he saw fit. Essentially, he had a lot of freedom to take the plot in whatever direction he wanted which the director says helped the actors better understand “where their characters were going.” By writing the rest of the story all at once, he was able to stay true to his franchise as well as the characters both new and old. 

Landing in theaters this weekend, Avatar: The Way of Water will pick up the story of 2009’s Avatar more than ten years in the future. A story about what it means to be family, the film will follow the Sullys while they stick together to face any problems that come their way and the heartbreaking realities that surround them. It’s unclear whether James Cameron will stick with a similar story for Avatar 3 and Avatar 4, but we’re thinking we can expect to see at least a few familiar characters stick around for the remainder of the franchise – should it be made.