James Cameron Reveals Reason He Scrapped 130-page Avatar Sequel Script

Back in September, James Cameron admitted that he wrote and scrapped a complete Avatar sequel script. In the new edition of Total Film (via Games Radar), Cameron explained a little more about the original sequel plan for Avatar and why he decided to abandon a 130-page script and a year’s worth of work to start all over again.

It is clear that James Cameron wants to do his Avatar movies in a certain way to get them exactly how he wants them. It seems that even includes the scrapping of a completed script for a sequel entitled Avatar: The High Ground, despite it being over 130-pages long and being what Cameron described as “a hell of a read.” However, as he detailed, some elements just didn’t sit with his vision for the franchise. He said:


“We were noodling around. I was working with a team of writers. We had a lot of ideas. We kept trying to corral it into a box, and it never quite fit. So at a certain point, I said, ‘I’ll just finish it, and see if it’s a movie.’ I did. It came out, I think, at 130 pages. It was like, ‘Man, this is a great story. This is a hell of a read.’ But it was missing one of those critical elements about sequels, which is that it didn’t go enough into the unexpected. It also didn’t play enough by Avatar rules, which is to connect us to the dream world, that which has a spiritual component that we can’t even quite quantify in words. It ticked every other box, but it didn’t tick that one.”

What Happened to James Cameron’s Scrapped Avatar Sequel?

20th Century Studios

Although Avatar: The Way of Water is a completely different movie from the one James Cameron originally wrote, the work on Avatar: The High Ground’s abandoned script was not all in vain. The director continued to say:

“We figured out a way to restructure the elements that we needed to distribute across the first two of the sequels, and relaunched it in a completely different way. There’s some great stuff in it. I mean, you’ve got the Na’vi fighting with bows and arrows in zero-G. I mean, I’m there! I want to see that movie. But it just didn’t achieve enough of the overall story and thematic goals that I had in mind. So we’re turning it into a Dark Horse graphic novel. You’ll be able to see that interim battle that took place between movie one and movie two.”

Fans of the Avatar franchise can get their hands on the graphic novel from December 6, ten days before Avatar: The Way of Water opens in cinemas. Regardless of how popular the book release is, the belated sequel to the biggest movie of all time is expected to end the year with a bang at the box office and could be the only movie with a chance of dethroning Top Gun: Maverick at the top of the 2022 chart of highest grossing films.