Avatar 2 is the first of four planned sequels, and James Cameron coordinated them so he could avoid replicating the “Stranger Things effect” over the coming years.
Avatar: The Way of Water, sequel to the highest-grossing movie of all time, has opened to a rave reception and just shy of $500 million at the box office after one weekend.
It picks up with Jake and Neytiri in the years after the first Avatar, now raising a family in the forests of Pandora. However, they’re forced to leave and fly to the ocean when the RDA and Quaritch return.
The younger cast of Avatar 2 is one of the highlights of the movie – but Cameron strove to avoid the “Stranger Things effect” when it came to the sequels, whether there’s just one or four.
James Cameron wanted to avoid “Stranger Things affect” in Avatar sequels
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, James Cameron spoke about his decision to shoot Avatar 2 alongside the third and fourth movies. It’s simple: those kids just grow up too fast.
“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.”
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While it’s the biggest show in the world, Stranger Things has attracted some mockery for its cast rampantly out-aging their characters, with Season 5 set to feature a time jump to address it.
“I’m sure we will do a time jump. Ideally, we’d have shot [Seasons 4 and 5] back to back, but there was just no feasible way to do that,” Ross Duffer, one half of the Duffer Brothers, told TVLine.
Meanwhile, Avatar 3 is already “95% done”, according to producer John Landau. “We have a little bit that we have to still pick up, and we shot the first act of movie four,” he told Collider.
Jack Champion, who plays Spider in the sequel, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the strange experience of watching it and seeing the movie jump between him at different ages. He was cast in the film at the age of 12, and he’s now 18.
“In every scene I see myself in, I remember how I felt on that day. So it is kind of a time capsule, but at the same time, I can also turn that off and just get lost in my enjoyment of the movie and story. So it’s cool to see my teenage years onscreen, but I can still get immersed in the world of Pandora,” he said.
Avatar: The Way of Water is in cinemas now. You can read our review here, find out the best way to watch the movie here, and check out the rest of our coverage here.