A few months ago, James Cameron mentioned that one of the reasons why so many years passed between the release of the first Avatar movie and its upcoming sequel Avatar: The Way of Water (which is set to hit cinemas on December 16th, two days before the thirteenth birthday of the first Avatar‘s release) is that he lost a year working on a sequel script that didn’t quite work out. As Cameron explained, “All films work on different levels. The first is surface, which is character, problem and resolution. The second is thematic. What is the film 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 it didn’t make it to level three. Boom. Start over.” Now he has revealed what the scrapped script was called Avatar: The Higher Ground – and it’s been reworked into a three-issue Dark Horse comic book series called Avatar: The High Ground! The street date of the first issue of Avatar: The High Ground is December 6th, but some retailers have reportedly already put it on their shelves.
Cameron told Total Film magazine, “I worked with a team of writers. We had many ideas. We kept trying to fit 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, that’s a great story. This is one hell of a read.’ But it lacked one of the critical elements about sequels, which is that it didn’t go far enough into the unexpected. It didn’t play past enough either Avatar rules that must connect us to the dream world, that which has a spiritual component that we cannot even fully quantify in words. It ticked every other box, but it didn’t tick it.“
Cameron and his writing team were still able to use some elements from Avatar: The Higher Ground and distribute them in both Avatar: The Way of Water and next year Avatar 3. The rest went in Avatar: The High Ground comic series, which serves as a prequel to Avatar: The Way of Water.
Cameron said, “There are some great things in it. You have Na’vi fighting with bows and arrows in zero-G. I mean, I’m there! I want to see that movie. 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 will be able to see the temporary battle that took place between movie one and movie two.“
The three numbers of Avatar: The High Ground has the following synopses:
It’s been almost a decade since the humans were forced to leave Pandora – but now they’re returning – with an armada of heavily armed starships! After years of peace, Jake Sully has settled down with Neytiri and started a family, so for him the stakes are even higher than when he first went to war against the corporate power of the RDA.
Humans have returned to Pandora with an armada of spaceships, but Jake Sully and Navi are ready for them! Knowing this day would come, Jake trained his Navi warriors with a plan to make it too expensive for humans to try again. . . if the plan works. But any chain of events is only as strong as its weakest link, and in this case, that weak link is human nature. As the plan unravels, Jake and Neytiri must race against time to return to Pandora and save their children before the spaceships land.
Jake Sully’s fear is struck by Pandora, guns blazing. The sky people are planet-side and take Hell’s Gate by storm. Jake and Neytiri’s children are still at the base, surrounded and shot out. He will have to improvise and risk it all to protect his family, his people and their home. The battle is on and all the Na’vi are in danger.
And there is more Avatar coming. Avatar: The Way of Water‘s 2022 release will be followed by Avatar 3 he 20 December 2023. If these first two sequels do well enough, so will we Avatar 4 he 18 December 2026and Avatar 5 he 22 December 2028. If they don’t do well enough, Avatar 4 and 5 will be scrapped.
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