James Cameron has revealed that Avatar: The Way Of Water was originally going to be ten-minutes longer but footage that glorified gun violence was cut.
The three-hour epic was released earlier this month with the sequel to 2009’s Avatar following former soldier Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), his partner Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and their kids in a new adventure on Pandora.
Speaking to Esquire, Cameron (who directed and co-wrote the screenplay) admitted he “actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie” that focused on “gunplay action.”
“I look back on some films that I’ve made, and I don’t know if I would want to make that film now,” Cameron explained. “I don’t know if I would want to fetishize the gun, like I did on a couple of Terminator movies 30-plus years ago, in our current world. What’s happening with guns in our society turns my stomach.”
“I’m happy to be living in New Zealand where they just banned all assault rifles two weeks after that horrific mosque shooting a couple of years ago,” he said.
Talking about Avatar: The Way Of Water, Cameron added: “I wanted to get rid of some of the ugliness, to find a balance between light and dark. You have to have conflict, of course,” he continued. “Violence and action are the same thing, depending on how you look at it. This is the dilemma of every action filmmaker, and I’m known as an action filmmaker.”
In a four-star review NME wrote: “Bigger, bolder and definitely better than the original, Avatar: The Way Of Water pushes the technical boundaries of cinema without feeling like a science experiment. It really does need to be seen on the biggest screen possible through a pair of awkward 3D glasses. Unlike its predecessor though, you won’t forget this experience in a hurry.”
The sequel to Avatar: The Way Of Water, provisionally titled Avatar 3, is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2024. Filming on the third entry concluded in December 2020, after it was shot back-to-back with Avatar: The Way Of Water in New Zealand to avoid Stranger Things-style ageing issues with the younger cast members.
A further two sequels are planned following Avatar 3, which are scheduled to be released on December 18, 2026 and December 22, 2028 respectively, though they could be scrapped if the series doesn’t perform at the box office.