In a recent interview with EW, Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron discussed why he filmed multiple Avatar sequels back-to-back.
Cameron explained that this was done to keep the child actors from looking drastically older in each film while their characters stay the same age — which he dubbed “the Stranger Things effect. The director referenced Jack Champion, who plays Spider in the Avatar sequels, as one actor who was aging especially fast, stating Champion was “growing like a weed.”
“We shot with Jack when he was 14 and 15, almost up to 16. So we were shooting him over an 18-month period,” Cameron explained. “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. You know, I love the show. It’s okay, we’ll suspend disbelief. We like the characters, but, you know.”
Avatar: The Way of Water is directed and co-written by James Cameron. It features the return of Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, Stephen Lang, Matt Gerald, and Sigourney Weaver. Additional cast members include Kate Winslet, Edie Falco, Michelle Yeoh, Vin Diesel, Jemaine Clement, and Oona Chaplin, alongside a slate of young actors.
“Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure,” says the official synopsis.
Three additional films are planned, with Avatar 3 tentatively scheduled for December 20, 2024, Avatar 4 set for December 18, 2026, and Avatar 5 on December 22, 2028.