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Why James Cameron Threw Out An Entire Early Draft Of Avatar 2

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In a new interview with The Times U.K., James Cameron made the startling admission that took a year to write the screenplay for “Avatar: The Way of the Water,” only to throw it away after mulling over factors that made the first film a hit. “When I sat down with my writers to start “Avatar 2,” I said we cannot do the next one until we understand why the first one did so well. We must crack the code of what the hell happened,” Cameron told The Times U.K. He also explained his rationale, telling the publication that different films work in different ways to entertain audiences. He then gave three levels, with the last to probe why people went back to see “Avatar” more than once.

“The first is surface, which is character, problem and resolution. The second is thematic,” Cameron said. “What is the movie trying to say? But ‘Avatar’ also works on a third level, the subconscious … I wrote an entire script for the sequel, read it and realized that it did not get to level three. Boom. Start over. That took a year.”

Since Cameron appears keen to share stories about the production of the first “Avatar” — including one with The New York Times about how he fought with 20th Century Fox studios about the length of the film and the length of the flying banshees’ scenes — he’s bound to one day go into greater detail about what was in the sequel’s abandoned script.

For now, “Avatar: The Way of the Water” — the first of four planned “Avatar” sequels — appears to be all buttoned up, and the film will be released in theaters on December 16. The film will feature several cast members from the original “Avatar,” who will be joined by the likes of Kate Winslet and Michelle Yeoh.

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