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365 Days to go until Avatar 2

365 Days to go until Avatar 2

I first started an Avatar 2 countdown timer on an old Avatar forum I created back on November 26th, 2013. 3,307 days before Avatar 2 will release. Of course at that time we thought Avatar 2 was coming much sooner, however I am super excited to finally be down to one year remaining. A single year for an Avatar fan is nothing. I’m really excited to see what else pops up in this next year, good times lie ahead for us Avatar fans.

Don’t forget tomorrow Entertainment Weekly will release with an exclusive sneak peek of Avatar 2, it will be available on newsstands or digitally from the following link-
https://www.magazine.store/entertainment-weekly/2022/return-of-the-matrix/

EW: James Cameron Teases Avatar Sequel

EW: James Cameron Teases Avatar Sequel

With the newest issue of Entertainment Weekly set to hit newsstands this Friday, 12/17/21, EW has released a teaser of their Avatar 2 article. I expect this teaser will end up being most of the article that will be released, but we will have to wait until Friday to find out. I’m going to go over some of the biggest things we learned, and link the article so you can check it out in it’s entirety. Along with some great new information we also got several new photos.

Director James Cameron and Edie Falco on set of 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR 2. Photo by Mark Fellman. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

“It sounds kind of nuts, the process. I mean, if Avatar hadn’t made so much damn money, we’d never do this — because it’s kind of crazy.”

-James Cameron

  • JC began planning the sequel in 2012
  • In 2013 a writing team was brought in to outline 4 stories
  • Filming started in 2017
  • The story is set 14 years after the end of the original Avatar movie
  • Jake and Neytiri have a family and much of the film centers on their children
  • Avatar 2 and 3 are mostly set in and around the ocean
  • We will meet a new reef dwelling clan, the Metkayina
  • Developed an underwater mocap system, mostly captured in a 900,000 gallon tank
  • WETA is working on the films
  • Cast trained to become free divers
  • Sigourney Weaver who is playing a still secret role, can hold her breath 6 and a half minutes
  • Kate Winslet, a Metkayina name Ronal, can hold her breath 7 and a half minutes
  • Principal photography has wrapped on Avatar 3, which is still due in 2024, WETA is in post production on some scenes
  • Avatar 4 and 5 are scheduled for 2026 and 2028
On set of 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR 2. Photo by Mark Fellman. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

“Ultimately, the sequels are a story about family, and the lengths parents will go through to keep that family together and keep them safe. I always say that Jim’s movies have universal themes — and really, there’s no more universal theme than family.”

-Jon Landau

 

Director James Cameron on set of 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR 2. Photo by Mark Fellman. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

You can buy a copy or subscription of Entertainment Weekly at- https://www.magazine.store/entertainment-weekly/2022/return-of-the-matrix/

 

 

Total Film: Avatar Preview

Total Film: Avatar Preview

The newest Total Film magazine released today, and as promised included more information on Avatar 2. I will say the best details were included in yesterdays teaser, however we still learned some new information and they shared an amazing piece of art, and a photo that wasn’t discussed in the article, my best guess is that it is a Metkayina necklace.

The article starts off by covering the Jon Landau quotes and narrative we shared in yesterdays post. Then Jon goes on to say that the sequels are going to take advantage of HDR, a higher resolution, and brighter light levels. All with the objective to help the 3D picture look better. He emphasized that they want Avatar 2 to be an amazing cinematic experience. Landau went on to say that they aren’t out to beat Avatars box office record, they want to make a great movie people want to see in theaters.

If you want to read the whole article, you can purchase the issue digitally for $3.99-https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/total-film-magazine/id451467025

(Photo Illustration by Andy Fairhurst)

 

(Image credit: Disney, Games Radar+/Total Film)

 

 

Total Film: Avatar 2 teaser

Total Film: Avatar 2 teaser

(Image credit: Disney, Games Radar+/Total Film)

Tomorrow, 12/8/21, the magazine Total Film is set to release their January issue that includes a preview article on Avatar 2. Today a portion of that article was released as a teaser. Here are the quotes from that article, taken directly from Avatar 2 producer Jon Landau-

“The scripts are the blueprint from which we work. So a large portion of our time was writing… with the challenge that each of those four scripts had to individually resolve itself in a story that concludes with a big emotional resolution – but when you look at them as a whole, the connected story arc of all four movies creates an even larger epic saga.”

“I think the story of Avatar 2, and the strength of the story, is what Jim always does in any of his movies: he writes in universal themes that are bigger than any one genre. And if you think about this, there’s really no more universal theme than family. At the center of each of our sequels is the Sully family. What are the dynamics that parents go through to protect their family?”

“The Sullys’ idyllic life is disrupted when the RDA mining operation returns to Pandora, forcing Jake to take the family to what is perceived as a safe harbor at the reef. And when you get to the reef, there’s a clan we call the Metkayina. The Sullys are no longer in the environment that they know, the rainforest. They become the fish out of water. They become the fish out of water both culturally and just environmentally.”

Link to the preview article in it’s entirety-https://www.gamesradar.com/avatar-producer-teases-the-four-sequels-the-connected-story-arc-creates-an-even-larger-epic-saga/

Purchase a digital copy of Total Film tomorrow to read the rest of the article. Simply download the Total Film app from the iTunes App store here-https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/total-film-magazine/id451467025

 

January 22 issue of EW to give exclusive look at Avatar 2

January 22 issue of EW to give exclusive look at Avatar 2

The cover for the January 22 issue of Entertainment Weekly has been shown. Blink and you could have missed this…

Avatar 2 season is starting to ramp up, I’ll admit I have never been a subscriber of Entertainment Weekly, but I saw the issues normally debut a couple weeks before the listed cover month. So keep your eye out for this in another two weeks right at mid December. I cannot wait to see what they show us. *Update* I have confirmed this issue will release on newsstands December 17th.

You can currently subscribe to the magazine through Amazon for only $5 for your first year. Might be a great idea for the Avatar fan as EW will probably have more Avatar features in the coming months leading up to the Avatar 2 release.

https://www.amazon.com/Meredith-Corporation-Entertainment-Weekly/dp/B0037STB02

If the digital route is more your style you can download the EW app here, and will be able to purchase the issue when it drops.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/entertainment-weekly-magazine/id475466600

Here is a look at the full January 2022 cover-

Atlantis Rising on Disney+

Atlantis Rising on Disney+

I saw this info shared on Kelutral.org’s Discord server about a month ago, shared by the user Marali. There is currently a show on Disney+ called Atlantis Rising. It is a documentary that came out in 2017. Why is this relevant to Avatar? James Cameron was involved in the documentary and the first few minutes of it show some behind the scenes captured at Lightstorm. We get to see motion capture in the new volume, with Kevin Dorman and Julene Renee playing Jake and Neytiri. We even get a look at a mocap performer being an Amp Suit. Here are 10 of my favorite shots, I highly recommend checking it out for yourself.

Atlantis Rising – Disney+

Zoe Saldana’s motion capture headpiece from the first Avatar.

Kevin Dorman as Jake Sully.

James Cameron in The Volume, capturing Julene and Kevin performing as Jake and Neytiri.

A look at one of the monitors, showing Jake and Neytiri on Pandora.

More performance capture happening in The Volume.

Another look at a monitor, showing 4 views at once. Jake and Neytiri appear to be checking out a mobile link chamber unit, or as it shows on the monitor, the shack.

Kevin exercising great trigger discipline.

Julene Renee as Neytiri.

This shows how a motion capture performer is represented by an Amp Suit.

JC filming Jake and Neytiri as the Amp Suit follows them. I love how something as simple as a pool noodle can represent a branch or other obstacle.

Simon Franglen will replace James Horner on Avatar Sequels

Simon Franglen will replace James Horner on Avatar Sequels

After the tragic passing of James Horner in 2015 we wondered who would, who could, replace his work on the Avatar sequels. We now have official word from Jon Landau that it will be Simon Franglen. If you aren’t familiar with Simon’s work or are worried how he will stack up to the legendary music Horner produced, look no further than Pandora-The World of Avatar. Simon co-composed the soundtrack that plays in the park with James Horner, and it is incredible. He may not be the flashy name of the most well known music composers some fans hoped for, but I truly think Simon is the best choice for Avatar, I am really excited to have this officially confirmed.

Check out his work on the Pandora soundtrack for yourself-

Simon worked closely with James Horner on Titanic before Avatar, this is what he had to say about the first time they met, which was to work on titanic.

He asked me to come work with him on Titanic because I had a skill set that included the way I used synthesizers at the time — it was somewhat different than most people. He had a longtime collaborator, Ian Underwood, who is one of the heroes of film music as far as I’m concerned, who had been his synthesist. I feel I brought in a slightly different feel — coming from pop music, it had a record-based edge to it.

The next time was when he asked me to come see five minutes of another film … which was Avatar. I looked at that and decided it was going to change the world and I ought to be involved. And from that point on we just worked very closely. In recent years I became his score producer and arranger and that was an evolution that happened because we had a really good working relationship and became really close friends. We had a great team as well. Teams are underrated in music and I think in this case there was an incredible set of people who enjoyed each others’ company and James was crucial to that.

I trust Jon Landau and James Cameron’s vision for Avatar, by selecting someone who has worked with closely with James Horner on multiple projects including the first Avatar I think we can feel assured we are in good hands moving forward. Congratulations to Simon Franglen, I can’t wait to hear what you come up with when we revisit Pandora in 472 days.

UPDATE-The World of Avatar: A Visual Celebration

UPDATE-The World of Avatar: A Visual Celebration

Back in May of 2019 a new Avatar book showed up on Amazon titled, The World of Avatar: A Visual Celebration. At that time it was slated to be released October 1st, 2019. That was later pushed back to October of 2020 due to an Avatar 2 delay. The book has now been updated on Amazon with a current release date of March 1st, 2022. It also has been updated with a three new photos of the books pages, if you’d like to see the original photos and book summary posted on Amazon, check out our previous post from 2019- The World of Avatar: A Visual Celebration

The new book summary has also changed ever so slightly from the previous listing-

Celebrate the first decade of James Cameron’s Avatar and the beginnings of an epic cinematic journey.

Delve into the majestic world of Pandora and discover the incredible wealth of creativity that led this story to become the highest-grossing film of all time and the winner of three Academy Awards.

The World of Avatar celebrates, explores and explains the spectacular world of Pandora – its extraordinary geology, flora and fauna, and the customs and beliefs of its people, the mysterious Na’vi. The book uniquely covers key content from all aspects of the burgeoning franchise. It combines original movie stills and artwork with stunning imagery from Cirque du Soleil’s Avatar-inspired show Toruk: The First Flight; Disney World’s Pandora–The World of Avatar; and the Dark Horse comic book series Tsu’tey’s Path.

Concluding with a preview of a new Avatar era, this rich, in-world guide will fuel excitement for the long-awaited release of Avatar 2 in December 2022.

As it did back in 2019, this book looks like it will be filled with Avatar goodness, I can’t wait to learn more about all things Avatar. I highly suggest pre-ordering now, the price was originally $19.99 back in 2019 but has now gone up to $21.99. You can pre-order from Amazon here- The World of Avatar: A Visual Exploration

Spector Creative on Mattel Avatar Toys

Spector Creative on Mattel Avatar Toys

The Spector Creative YouTube channel run by Scott “ToyGuru” Neitlich, breaks down the Avatar toy line created by Mattel. Scott worked for Mattel for several years and was the brand manager over the DC Universe line, MOTU Classics, and others during his time at Mattel. I’ve heard Scott on various podcasts over the years and always find him insightful and interesting, and I am a fan of his work. From a customer and collector stand point I respectfully disagree with some of his points in his video, however I still think it’s interesting and very much worth a watch.

The first thing Scott mentions is that Avatar didn’t leave a large cultural impact. This is something we’ve all heard and is the general narrative about Avatar. I don’t really buy into that and here is why. Avatar released without a lot of collectibles compared to most sci-fi type blockbusters, see Star Wars for the other end of the spectrum. However that never seemed to be the focus for the brand, the focus was a movie that needed to be seen in theaters to fully appreciate it. They excelled with that singular focus and became the highest grossing movie. After Avatar released and the popularity grew the movie proved it had real staying power at the box office. As a fan I noticed the desire from others to own a piece of the movie by way of collectibles. Over the next couple of years the higher end market tried to capitalize on that, there was a Hot Toys Jake released, Sideshow Collectibles released Colonel Quaritch, Jake Sully, and 3 different Neytiri statue offerings. Before the movie opened Avatar had a video game for the PC and consoles for that generation, and had the Mattel action figure line. For a brand new property that no one knew exactly what to expect I think this was more than adequate for major consumer goods. You don’t want to flood the market and also have the movie flop. To further my point of Avatar actually having a lasting impact, Avatar inspired a succesful Cirque du Soleil show, their own land at Animal Kingdom, a mobile game, and most recently comic books. Avatar has left quite an impact, but for whatever reason that impact seems to be brushed aside because the fans of the movie may not be the biggest consumer of collectibles.

I agree with Scott, Avatar didn’t dominate the toy aisle or have 6 feet of space like Star Wars does, but Star Wars is very established, has lots of collectors, and no one knew how well Avatar would do before the movie released. My small town has 3 Wal-Marts, one Target, and at the time one Toys R Us. The only store that carried Avatar was Toys R Us and I never found the Avatar/Na’vi figures there, they normally had some of the various humans and some creatures or vehicles. So as a huge fan of the movie who wanted to collect this line I was left with the option of eBay or Amazon. Judging from the prices on eBay I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t get my hands on these figures. The 7″ Movie Masters Neytiri was $100 for awhile. So there absolutely was demand for these figures from this movie. I have no idea how long that high demand lasted or if they flew off the shelves everywhere, but from what I saw as a fan it was in high demand for a decent amount of time. However as with anything, once the movie has been out a few months, the hype dies down and people move on. Without comics, tv shows, and other new media to keep the story lines of those characters going, peoples interest moves to other things. It’s hard to compare 1977 to 2021 but Star Wars didn’t have any figures when it first released, but they eventually came and Star Wars has been great about getting additional media out there to keep people spending money. I’ve never been under the impression that was the Avatar goal, as I mentioned earlier, the true goal was to get people in the theater to watch the movie.

The line had two main scales for the figures, it can be a bit confusing, however at the same time it worked pretty well. There were the smaller figures that made up the vast majority of the line. Humans were 3.75″ and the Na’vi/Avatars were 4.25″. The humans and Na’vi/Avatars didn’t work together well in this scale with an average human male being around 6′, and a Na’vi/Avatar being around 10′. By having both the humans and Na’vi/Avatar figures this size they were able to make accurate sized creatures and vehicles for them. Creatures and vehicles would have been very cost prohibitive at the larger scale. There was also the 7″ scale figures, called the Movie Masters line. They consisted of a few versions of Jake, Neytiri, and Colonel Quaritch. The Colonel didn’t scale with the larger Na’vi as he was about 6.25″, but it gave you a chance to have a larger sized figure. The 7″ Na’vi/Avatars scale almost perfectly with the 3.75″ humans and their vehicles. Further proof of this lies in the fact that in 2010 Mattel released an SDCC set called “The Final Battle,” includind in it a 3.75″ Colonel Quaritch with Amp Suit, and a 7″ Jake Sully. This set recreated the finale fight between Jake and Quaritch at the end of Avatar.

Scott also mentions the iTag stands the figures came with, and I can only speak for myself on this. Back in 2009/2010 my internet wasn’t great, it had horrible slow speeds. I wasn’t able to even use the iTag feature because the internet just wasn’t up to it. I’ve seen online videos of how it was supposed to work but I can only imagine how many other people couldn’t ever get their iTags to work due to internet speeds. So personally that’s something I’ve never factored into the line. From what I’ve seen it looked like it could have been a really fun feature.

In regards to figures selling better if the good guys are humans and the bad guys the aliens, I believe Scott and trust the logic behind it. Maybe that helped keep sales down below what Mattel wanted from the line. I’d love to see some actual numbers on how the line did in sales, because that’s something I’ve never seen. Also touching on the role play items, maybe role play items for kids would have encouraged further buying of the main line, but I was never under the impression the action figure line did poorly. To me it looked like it was out, sold with the hype of the movie and then went away, as most all movie lines do. Even with the later success of Avatar having a Cirque show, and a land within Disney, I never expected another mass retail release until we get within a couple months of Avatar 2. The merchandise at Pandora: The World of Avatar seems to sell very well from what I’ve seen, again I don’t have sales numbers on that, but if you visit you’ll feel the same way. On the secondary market Avatar figures prices are really solid, and have only risen over the years as the sequels get closer to releasing.

I have a lot of respect for Scott and his toy knowledge and these are just my thoughts and counterpoints to his feelings on the line. As a collector of this line and someone who has collected the entire line, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge of how it was early on and in the secondary market since.

 

Ad for the figure and iTag feature.

 

 

Avatar: Behind the Scenes

Avatar: Behind the Scenes

This is an old behind the scenes video I came across again recently. I love footage like this that shows some of what was happening behind the camera, and even scenes that never made it to the final cut. It’s also enjoyable seeing James Cameron and others actively working behind the camera. Even if you’ve seen it before give it another watch.

We are now 522 days away from the release of Avatar 2…