James Cameron has revealed that he shot scenes for Avatar 3 and 4 in advance to avoid Stranger Things-style ageing issues with the younger cast members.
The recently released Avatar: The Way Of Water introduced a number of child characters, including Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, who was 7 years old when cast and is now 13) and Spider (Jack Champion, who was 12 when cast, but is now 18).
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cameron said that the first, second and third act of the fourth film had to be completed in one production, because Champion was “growing like a weed”.
“Otherwise, you get – and I love Stranger Things – but you get the Stranger Things effect, where they’re supposed to still be in high school [but] they look like they’re 27,” Cameron said. “You know, I love the show. It’s okay, we’ll suspend disbelief. We like the characters. But, you know.”
In the same interview, producer Jon Landau said that all newly introduced characters will continue to be part of the Avatar story in the upcoming sequels.
“Each movie is going to introduce audiences to new clans, new cultures on Pandora,” Landau said. “Once we introduce a character, they stay a part of the ongoing evolution. We just add to it.
“So you can expect to see the Metkayina that you meet in this movie in subsequent movies. There are other clans that we’ll introduce in movie 3 that you’ll see in movie 4 and so on and so forth.”
The Avatar franchise is set to consist of five films in total, with a third, fourth and fifth yet to be released. However, Cameron recently suggested that the series could end after the third film if it doesn’t perform at the box office.
“The market could be telling us we’re done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning, ‘OK, let’s complete the story within movie three, and not go on endlessly,’ if it’s just not profitable,” the filmmaker told Total Film.
Filming on Avatar 3 is said to be finished, having been shot simultaneously with The Way Of Water. The third film is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2024.