James Cameron Reveals Details on the Canceled Avatar Sequel That Had a 130-Page Script

James Cameron has shared details about his canceled Avatar sequel, The High Ground, revealing that it had a 130-page script with lots of “great stuff” in it, including a zero-gravity battle.

Cameron discussed his scrapped Avatar sequel in the new issue of Total Film magazine, per GamesRadar. He explained why the story never made it to screen, saying the script lacked a few important elements that the writing team were evidently able to bring to the surface in the sequel that ended up going into production, Avatar: The Way of Water.

“We were noodling around,” he told the publication. “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.”

Cameron and his team restructured certain parts of The High Ground script to incorporate them into the upcoming Avatar movie sequels, but decided to adapt the remainder of the story for a new graphic novel that will hit shelves on December 6. The comic will serve as a prequel to The Way of Water, which will be released in theaters 10 days later.

“There’s some great stuff in it. I mean, you’ve got the Na’vi fighting with bows and arrows in zero-G,” he said. “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.”

Avatar: The Way of Water is directed by James Cameron, and produced by Cameron and Jon Landau. It sees the return of Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña as Sulley and Neytiri, alongside fellow cast members Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, and Kate Winslet.

Cameron confirmed Avatar 2 had finished filming in September 2020. At the same time, he revealed that Avatar 3 was around 95% complete, with that movie due out on December 20, 2024, Avatar 4 in December 2026, and Avatar 5 in December 2028 — though Cameron might not helm all of the upcoming sequels, if they end up happening.

Adele Ankers-Range is a freelance entertainment writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.

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