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“Avatar: The Way of Water”, the anti-Marvel sequel that took 13 years: “We want to do things right”

Like the original film, the film again revolves around Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic ex-Marine initially tasked with infiltrating the local population thanks to the program ‘Avatar‘, which allows you to enter your consciousness into the body of one of the native Na’vi. The sequel is set a decade after Sully helped his newfound allies oust the Resource Development Administration (RDA) from Pandora, with the protagonist now becoming the leader of the Omatikaya clan, inhabitants of the planet’s jungles, as well as forming a new family with Neytiri (Zoe Zaldaña). This idyllic existence ends with the return of Earth forces, this time intent on not only exploiting Pandora’s natural resources, but also colonizing it as a new home for the human race.

Long wait

The timing of the RDA’s return to Pandora is similar to that expected by audiences for the sequel’s arrival in theaters, an unusually long period in a film industry increasingly focused on rapidly continuing franchises as a way to make money; as Marvel Studios well knows that, in comparison, only this 2022 has released three films (“Doctor Strange 2”, “Thor 4” and “Black Panther 2”) and three series (“Moon Knight”, “Ms. Marvel” and “She-Hulk”) set in the same continuity. Trade spoke with the producer of the saga “Avatar”, Jon Landau, who explained the reasons for the delay.

First of all, we don’t rush. We want to do things right”, he indicated. “When we finished ‘Avatar’, we needed a break to touch on other interests, like when Jim (James Cameron) built a submarine and explored the deepest parts of the ocean..”

The producer noted that when Cameron returned from his underwater adventure they were able to start working on the sequels to “Avatar”, which they decided to do concurrently. “We decided to do four, so we had to write four scripts at a level we were happy with, which took several years. From there we had to design the entire saga, as well as shoot two movies and a third of the third. So this is the right time and we have everything ready to fit”.

Why shoot everything in a row instead of a more traditional format where there is time between shooting each sequel? Landau explained that there were logistical factors that complicated the situation, such as the age of the actors. “These movies are about a family, a universal theme that is important to convey to audiences. The children are young in this film, they are between 7 and 15 years old. If we made a movie and came back three years later to shoot another one, they would be bigger..

From left to right, the characters of Tsireya (Bailey Bass), Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo'ak (Britain Dalton) and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington).  (Photo: 20th Century Studios)

Thus, in addition to the prominent return of the characters of Jake Sully and Neytiri, we have the inclusion of a series of new protagonists that make up their new family, starting with the firstborn Neteyam (James Flatters), as well as his brother Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and his sisters Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) and Kiri (Sigourney Weaver). The latter is a particularly interesting character in the film, as he is the second Weaver plays in the franchise, changing from human scientist Grace Augustine – one of Sully’s allies in the first film – to a Na’vi teenager thanks to the power of the special effects.

He is not the only actor to return in blue to the franchise, with Stephen Lang returning to the role of Colonel Miles Quaritch after his death in the climax of “Avatar” (2009). His return stems from another GDR program where the memories of deceased soldiers are inserted into artificial Na’vi bodies as ‘recombinants’.

Lang, who won a Saturn Award for his portrayal of Quaritch, cautioned against expecting him to be the exact same character from the first film. “The chance to come back came from Jim Cameron. He felt that the character was worth continuing in some way.”, indicated the actor in conversation with Trade. “It’s not really a comeback. It is a new and improved Quaritch, but it is not the same, since if it were it would not make sense to bring it back.”

Quaritch (Stephen Lang) sees an image of his human version.  (Photo: 20th Century Studios)

Thus, Lang pointed out that inhabiting the body of a Na’vi has had notable effects on his character: “Quaritch was a man who really knew who he was. He kept things simple, focused on the mission, was very loyal and was a good leader in his own way, which he accomplished thanks to his linear thinking.“, he pointed. “But do you know what happens when it’s reconstituted and its DNA recombined with that of a Na’vi? There are things entering his blue bloodstream that have never been there before and he doesn’t know what they mean. It’s this sense of internal dislocation that makes it interesting to play.”.


The Perfect Villain, by Stephen Lang

With experience playing various villains including Quadritch (“Avatar”), Khalar Zym (“Conan the Barbarian”) and Ike Clanton (“Tombstone”), Stephen Lang knows a thing or two about villains, so we asked him what trait one of these needs. to be fascinating.

I believe that a great villain is like an exotic spice, that is, it should be used sparingly and effectively. The villains I like the most are villains you can’t get enough of and wish there were more of them. You can go overboard with the villain too, and then it’s like whatever, it’s not cool anymore. But for me I would say that it takes just the right amount of screen, that the time is used efficiently is really very important..

When you think about the big villains, whether it’s Margaret Hamilton in the “Wizard of Oz,” or Jack Palance in “Shane,” — who’s probably my favorite villain out of all of them — they’re very appealing in a really creepy way, aren’t they? you know? I mean, the truth is, the Wicked Witch of the West is an ugly, ugly thing, but it’s a lot of fun to watch. I think you already know, and I think there has to be. There has to be an attraction.

The Perfect Villain, by Stephen Lang

the path of water

As its name indicates, “Avatar: The Path of Water” will take us to the oceans of Pandora to meet a new Na’vi clan, the aquatic Metkayina, led by Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis). In addition to serving as an excuse to show beautiful aquatic landscapes – a particular fascination of James Cameron himself -, this change of scenery allows the producers of the saga to expand their universe without leaving the moon.

From left to right: Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis), the leaders of the Metkayina clan.  (Photo: 20th Century Studios)

We made the decision to keep our stories on Pandora. What we’re doing is, instead of introducing other alien races, we’re introducing new clans of Na’vi that look very different on a physiological level, like their shape, the color of their skinsaid Jon Landau. “We also introduce in ‘The path of water’ the tulkun, an intelligent species (of whales) that is also connected to Eywa (the connecting force of the planet).”.

For the producer, the role of Pandora and the films of the “Avatar” saga is not only to entertain, but also serve as a kind of mirror of our own planetcelebrating our cultural diversity and the way we are all connected, a message that he hopes to carry through the rest of the sequels.

A tulkun, a species of intelligent whales that inhabit the seas of Pandora.  (Photo: 20th Century Studios)

We love these four scripts from our movies. Each one of them has a great emotion, a great emotional core, but they are also more than that.”Landau considered. “Each one has important themes in our daily lives that we want to convey to the public through entertainment. such as the appreciation for the cultural diversity of indigenous peoples, respect for what nature has in store for us and for what history has in store for us with places like Machu Picchu. We want to celebrate and make people appreciate things like this in all the sequels..”

“Avatar: The Water Path” hits theaters on December 15.


“Alita: Battle Angel 2”?

With the opportunity to speak with Landau, the possibility of asking him about another long-awaited sequel that he produces: “Alita: Battle Angel” also opened up. Here his answer:

I can tell you that I was on the phone with Robert Rodríguez about two weeks ago and we were talking about ‘Alita 2’. I can’t predict the future, but it’s something we’re all passionate about trying to make happen and we salute the ‘Alita army’, as fans are known, for continuing to push us to do something. Thank you

Source: Elcomercio

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