“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 told the publication. “You know, I love the show. It’s OK, we’ll suspend disbelief. We like the characters, but, you know.”
The phenomenon is more noticeable with adolescent actors who go through extreme changes as they mature. Trinity Jo-Li Bliss was around 7 when she was cast as Tuk in the “Avatar” sequel and has since become a teenager. Similarly, 18-year-old actor Jack Champion plays Spider in the movies and went through big changes since filming began when he was 13, leading Cameron to remark that he’s “growing like a weed.”
The first “Avatar” film came out in 2009, and the third installment is slated for a 2024 release.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cameron discussed how risky it was making a sequel more than a decade after the first release. “There’s skepticism in the marketplace. Can anybody even remember the characters’ names? We’ll see what happens after this film,” he said.
The latest installment was a big gamble for Disney, costing more than $350 million in production costs alone. If Cameron completes the intended story, the total amount spent will exceed $1 billion. As of this week, “The Way of Water” had surpassed $550 million in global ticket sales, but it still hasn’t reached a break-even point or become profitable, Variety noted.
Producer Jon Landau teased a bit of what the third and fourth “Avatar” movies would include.
“Each movie is going to introduce audiences to new clans, new cultures on Pandora,” he told EW.
“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.”
This is all banking on the success of “The Way of Water,” of course, which is still not guaranteed.