James Cameron Isn’t Going To Let Avatar Go The Same Route As Star Wars

James Cameron says he doesn't think expanding Avatar into TV series makes financial sense.

By Michileen Martin | Published

avatar: the way of water

James Cameron has no plans to create Avatar spinoff series for television, but not for any creative reasons. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times (via ComingSoon.net), the blockbuster director says that “the economics” of creating stories set in the world of Pandora in the small screen like Star Wars and Marvel have done on Disney+. However, he points out advancements in technology could soon make Avatar TV series a more viable possibility.

“Right now, the economics don’t make sense to spin off any of our CG main characters onto TV. But the cost of these things will progressively come down as we introduce machine deep learning into the processes and make them more automated. Ask me again in five years.”

-James Cameron

The Avatar: The Way of Water director has already been open about how last year’s sequel would need to hit at least $2 billion in ticket sales to break even; a goal the film has since exceeded by $250,000. A lot of that cost presumably goes to the visual effects needed to create the blue-skinned Na’vi. Obviously, that would be just as true on the small screen as it is on the big.

Living as we do in an age of premiere television, our expectations are high and when it comes to science fiction projects that goes double for the visual effects. Contemporary television series like Disney+’s live-action Marvel and Lucasfilm projects, Stranger Things, The Expanse, The Boys, Raised by Wolves, Paramount+’s live-action Star Trek shows, Peacemaker, Halo, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and more deliver visual effects as good as or better than what you can expect on the big screen. So neither James Cameron nor anyone else would be forgiven for skimping on an Avatar TV show.

avatar 2 underwater blockbusters

By all accounts, there’s no reason to think audience expectations for visual effects heavy television series will be lowering any time soon. Each week seems to bring with it announcements of more of those series coming, including from franchises James Cameron has been involved with. Production on Noah Hawley’s Alien series, for example, is expected to begin this year, and the True Lies TV series is scheduled to premiere on CBS and Paramount+ in March.

Then there’s Twisted Metal set to premiere this year on Peacock, Amazon Prime’s Fallout, Blade Runner 2099, Mass Effect, all of the DC Studios shows on the way at HBO Max, and upcoming Marvel and Star Wars series.

Not to mention that even if the cost of such projects didn’t make Avatar TV spinoffs cost prohibitive at this point, we’re sure James Cameron is going to be a little wrapped up for the next 5 or 6 years getting three more Avatar movies off the ground. Avatar: The Way of Water proved to be a theater-reinvigorating success, but there’s no guarantee the next three films will be as successful. We’d rather he focus on this because clearly, we all have enough TV to watch for years to come regardless.

This is the way.

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