The director discussed the character progression in his upcoming sequel Avatar: The Way Of Water with The New York Times, which follows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) as parents 15 years after the original.
“In the first movie, Sam’s character leaps off his flying creature and essentially changes the course of history as a result of this crazy, almost suicidal leap of faith,” Cameron said. “And Zoe’s character leaps off a limb and assumes there’s going to be some nice big leaves down there that can cushion her fall.”
For the sequel, Cameron wanted to ask: “What happens when those characters mature and realise that they have a responsibility outside their own survival?”
The director wishes other films would consider this sentiment as characters grow older, highlighting Marvel and DC blockbusters specifically.
“When I look at these big, spectacular films – I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC – it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college. They have relationships, but they really don’t. They never hang up their spurs because of their kids.
“The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”