Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron has shared that one of the biggest differences between the first Avatar and the sequel is that Zoe and Sam are parents and are changed by having kids. According to Cameron, their love is in (Tony) stark contrast with the MCU and DCEU as those heroes “act like they’re in college” when it comes to relationships.
Cameron was speaking to The New York Times and was asked about this difference, and he elaborated that becoming a parent means you view the world in an entirely new way and must think much harder about your actions as you are now living for more than yourself.
“Zoe and Sam now play parents, 15 years later,” Cameron said. “In the first movie, Sam’s character leaps off his flying creature and essentially changes the course of history as a result of this crazy, almost suicidal leap of faith. And Zoe’s character leaps off a limb and assumes there’s going to be some nice big leaves down there that can cushion her fall. But when you’re a parent, you don’t think that way. So for me, as a parent of five kids, I’m saying, ‘What happens when those characters mature and realize that they have a responsibility outside their own survival?'”
As Cameron mentions, this story, in a sense, mirrors his own life as he took a lot of risks when he was younger that he “wouldn’t take now” because he wants to be there for his kids for a very long time. However, this isn’t the only reason, as he also wants to explore relationships in a way that isn’t being done by other big budget films.
“When I look at these big, spectacular films — I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC — it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college,” Cameron said. “They have relationships, but they really don’t. They never hang up their spurs because of their kids. The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”
Cameron also believes that this focus on parenthood and children will resonate with not only the actors, but the younger audience that he hopes will come see his sequel.
“I knew as I was writing it that Sam and Zoe were new parents and that this stuff would resonate for them, but if you’re speaking to a young audience, let them feel validated that kids on another planet, 200 years from now, are going through the same crap they’re going through right now,” Cameron said.
Avatar: The Way of Water will be released in theaters on December 16, 2022. For more, check out Cameron’s thoughts on why 3D TVs for homes failed and why he said that Avatar haters shut up when they rewatch the first film.
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