Last we heard, James Cameron had plans for three Avatar sequels. He would use a team of writers to script them, then shoot them back to back with each installment being released a year apart starting in 2017. The entire endeavor would take years, which meant Cameron was exclusively in the Avatar business until it was all over. Over the last few days, however, we’ve been getting reports that may point to that business expanding even more than anticipated.
Who’s saying that?
James Horner, Oscar winning composer behind Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Aliens, Titanic, and Avatar, is claiming that Cameron also has a fourth Avatar sequel script that he’s trying to condense back into the original three planned sequels, “Right now Jim has four sequels, script wise. And he’s trying to make it into three. And that is where, I think, his effort is going right now. To keep it to three sequels. Because he’s got so much going on how do you keep it from expanding into a fifth movie, total. And he’ll get that sorted out.”
So, who’s working on these scripts?
At the moment, the Avatar scripting team consists of four names:
Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Jurassic World)
Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)
Shane Salerno (Armageddon, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem)
That’s four names… for three scripts?
Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are a writing team, so it’s technically three units of writers.
How do you condense four scripts into three?
That’s a tough question to answer, as we have neither seen the scripts nor do we know the stories behind them. It’s a question of structure and plotting. Sometimes you just can’t mesh two plots together because thematically and structurally they have no correlation: the screenwriting equivalent of fitting a square peg in a round hole. However, the Avatar universe is very environmentally centered, so it’s safe to say that theme will be a backbone throughout all the sequels. Given Cameron seems adamant in only making three sequels, he’ll have to find a way to condense ideas or let some go altogether.