‘Avatar’ Sequels Filmed at Once to Avoid ‘a ‘Stranger Things’ Effect’

USA News


  • James Cameron shot “Avatar: The Way of Water,” and the third and fourth “Avatar” films at one time.
  • Cameron shot them this way to avoid the “Stranger Things effect,” or child actors’ growth spurts.
  • “Avatar: The Way of Water” earned $435 million globally at the box office during opening weekend.

Why shoot your film sequels separately when you can shoot them simultaneously?

That’s the philosophy James Cameron adopted when he filmed “Avatar: The Way of Water,” as well as the third and fourth “Avatar” films simultaneously to avoid what he calls the “‘Stranger Things’ effect,” Cameron told Entertainment Weekly. The director was referring to child actors’ growth spurts, which are often noticeable by viewers in multiyear film and TV projects. 

Actor Trinity Jo-Li Bliss was seven years old when she was cast as Tuk, for example, and is now 13, while actor Jack Champion, who plays Spider was 12 years old when he was cast and is now 18.

Cameron contends he was prudent in shooting the second, third, and the first act of the fourth films all at once.

“Otherwise, you get — and I love “Stranger Things” — but you get theStranger 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.”

“Avatar: The Way of Water” is off to a promising start at the box office, having earned $435 globally during its opening weekend. Critics including Insider’s Jason Guerrasio have praised the film for “mixing amazing visuals with an emotional story.” 

“Avatar” franchise producer Jon Landau also hinted to Entertainment Weekly the upcoming sequels will introduce audiences to new clans and cultures in the world of Pandora. 

“Once we introduce a character, they stay a part of the ongoing evolution,” Landau added. “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.”



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