I recently came across an article in the LA Times from back in 2011 that has a lot of really interesting information about Lightstorm and why James Cameron and Jon Landau decided on Manhattan Beach Studios as the home for the Avatar sequels. Thought I would share it, hope everyone enjoys and learns something new. Just click the link below for the article.
Good news Avatar fans. Last week on Discord I learned not one, but two new Avatar podcasts were launching. I don’t know about you but I love to listen to a good podcast, and it’s been years since I’ve had an Avatar related one to check out. So I wanted to share how you can also listen to them for yourself.
The first one I heard about is called “Eana Mokri” and you can find out more information about the podcast on the Learn Na’vi forums by clicking HERE.
Direct links to listen to this podcast are…
The second podcast I learned about it is from Tirea Aean and Tsyili, who are working on a Na’vi only podcast called “kelku ikranä a hawnventi yom” which can be heard at this link…
You can learn more about this podcast by also checking out the Learn Na’vi forums and clicking HERE.
In just under two months the first of the Avatar comics will officially release and today the cover art for issue two has been shown courtesy of CBR.com Find their full article here-https://www.cbr.com/exclusive-dark-horse-covers-avatar-death-orb-umbrella-academy/
We get another beautiful standard cover from Doug Wheatley. Doug is doing the art for the standard cover on issue one, and he did all of the art on the Free Comic Book Day issue. This cover really excites me seeing Tsu’tey in action on his Pa’li heading off on some Pandora adventure. It also looks as if he’s flanked by the two young Na’vi who did Iknimaya with Jake Sully. I would love to learn the names and more about those two Na’vi. They show up all throughout Avatar but we don’t learn anything about them. They were played by Ilram Choi and Alicia Vela-Bailey respectively.
The second issue shown is another beautiful variant from Shea Standefer. Shea also is the artist on the variant cover from issue one and her art is quickly making me a huge fan of hers. She really nailed the facial likeness of Tsu’tey and Neytiri and I know that’s easier said than done.
Don’t forget to pic up your copy of issue one at your local comic book shop on January 16th, 2019. You can also pre-order online, my personal favorite shop to pre-order from is TFAW. You can pre-order from them HERE.
For Avatar you’re playing a completely different role. Is it different for each of the four film sequels?
No, it’s a continuous character. We just finished shooting two and three. We shot it in LA and James has announced publicly that there’s a lot of underwater work, so we learned how to free dive and we did many scenes underwater which was challenging and kind of cool.
I’m so lucky because I always grew up near the water and I’m married to someone from Hawaii and I had learned to swim. Also, you have the best safety divers in the world. The one scary thing is sometimes you have to be weighted down to be on the bottom. Luckily, I would have a safety diver on each arm to get me back to the surface. I was grateful for that, because otherwise I would still be there.
There’s no relationship to your past character?
No, not really.
Do the four sequels play as one story together?
It’s kind of one story. They’re all independent. It works without 4 and 5, but it really is a big saga.
Why do you think the new Avatar films will change the cinema experience?
I think that because the water becomes another world. The scripts are amazing, and in the first one, which I love, I think he hadn’t set up a lot of things. In this one he got to tell this very personal story. They’re amazing. There’s a message to not sacrifice everything for greed and conquest. It will take all four movies to really make that message loud and clear for the whole world.
Will we ever see a Neill Blomkamp Alien 5 project?
We almost started to do it when I was working with James Cameron. But by the time we were put off by Fox, Neill had gotten so many jobs that we’d have to wait probably. I’m busy doing Avatar 4 and 5. I love working with Neill and I think he’d do a terrific job, and James Cameron really thinks it’s a great idea, so you never know. Right now, I think Neill’s got like three projects going at once.
This was taken from an interview done by Ariston Anderson for The Hollywood Reporter, you can find the interview in its entirety HERE.
Well that was short but sweet, but at the same time it was probably the most I’ve heard about Sigourney’s new character, while still not learning too much. When they asked point blank if there was a relationship to her past character and she said, “no, not really.” I feel like that could be telling, she could have said just no, but no, not really, makes me think it will still be some sense of Grace. Possibly as the voice of Eywa, but that’s pure speculation on my part. I do know I am excited to find out. Comment or email us and let us know what sort of character you think Sigourney will be in the Avatar sequels, will she still have ties to Dr. Augustine? I am also curious about her comments that she’s already working on Avatar 4 and 5. There seems to be some conflicting new lately of what exactly is happening right now. Stephen Lang has said they are on break until December while editing takes place, we know live action is being filmed next year in New Zealand, so exactly where they are in the process right now is a bit murky. However they seem to be making great progress and that in itself is exciting!
If you haven’t heard yet, on September 27th Dark Horse Comics announced they will be releasing a new Avatar series called Avatar: Tsu’tey’s Path. This is the first of the upcoming Avatar comics we learned about in October of 2015. At that time James Cameron teased that the upcoming comics would tell stories from the past, present, and future of Avatar.
After that announcement we didn’t hear much else about when the comics would start happening. In December of 2016 it was announced for FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) of 2017 Dark Horse would be releasing an Avatar comic. You can read more about that in a previous article we wrote HERE. Now it seems we are finally getting into the actual story lines. I am very excited to see where the comic takes us with Tsu’tey and beyond. The FCBD issue was short but very entertaining and had really excellent art work. The upcoming Tsu’tey series is keeping the same writer (Sherri L. Smith) from that issue, and the artist (Doug Wheatley) is going to be doing the covers. However the illustrations will be from Jan Duursema, and inks by Dan Parsons, with Wes Dzioba providing colors. I thought Doug Wheatley really nailed Pandora in comic form, but after checking out the other artists work I think we will be in great hands. The first cover by Wheatley was also released when the series was announced and it’s stunning.
I cannot wait to see where this first series takes us. Even though Tsu’tey passed away I’m glad we will get to know him even better starting this January 16th!
Here’s what Time Magazine had to say about Pandora:
Just as James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar marked a new level of technological innovation for movies, so too is Pandora: The World of Avatar reinventing the modern theme park. Among its otherworldly attractions: an animatronic character that’s “as lifelike as possible” and a botanical garden that glows with neon after sunset. The park’s flagship is Flight of Passage, a ride that combines 3-D projections and virtual reality to create the illusion that guests are flying atop a living, breathing mountain banshee (a creature that figures prominently in Cameron’s mythical universe). The park says it’s the highest-rated attraction at Walt Disney World, per guest surveys.
That is really a lofty achievement. Especially considering it started off as a land that many Disney fans predicted would fail, to the huge crowds and high praise the land has received since opening in May of 2017. It seems the Avatar brand takes many bumps and bruises on the internet, but when it comes to performance it tends to click with people and shine. If you are a fan of Avatar and have yet to visit this amazing place, it needs to be #1 on your bucket list. It’s a sight to behold that immerses you so much you start the feel as if you are on the moon Pandora.
After the first few weeks of Avatar being out in theaters a phenomenon that became known as PAD or Post Avatar Depression started happening. Specifically it was being discussed in length on the newly created Avatar Forums. Everything Avatar was huge in those days and soon major websites were even picking up on the story. It seemed most people that loved the movie fell into two main categories. It either made you extremely happy or in some cases it depressed you. The depression came from things like the realization of how imperfect out own world is, wanting to visit Pandora but not being able to, and even wanting to become one of the Na’vi. The feelings of happiness also come from similar things. People fell in love with the Na’vi way of life, they wanted to visit Pandora and could by going to see the film again and again, and it even inspired people to take better care of their bodies and live more naturally.
On the fan forum site “Avatar Forums,” a topic thread entitled “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible,” has received more than 1,000 posts from people experiencing depression and fans trying to help them cope. The topic became so popular last month that forum administrator Philippe Baghdassarian had to create a second thread so people could continue to post their confused feelings about the movie.
“I wasn’t depressed myself. In fact the movie made me happy ,” Baghdassarian said. “But I can understand why it made people depressed. The movie was so beautiful and it showed something we don’t have here on Earth. I think people saw we could be living in a completely different world and that caused them to be depressed.”
-CNN.com Audiences experience ‘Avatar’ blues 1/11/10
It became such a big deal even CNN was reporting on it. I want to know how you felt when you first watched Avatar, from the good to the bad, and I’d like to know how you think seeing Avatar 2 may make you feel. Do you think it will help having an actual Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to go visit? Send us an email or leave a comment and we will follow up on every ones feelings in a future article.
For the full article by Adrian Pennington click here-The Science Behind the Fiction
The Avatar sequels
All of these cutting-edge developments are being trained on Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5 which are in production in New Zealand and LA for release beginning in 2020 until 2025. Everyone expects the sequels to break ground – and in multiple ways. Cameron has reportedly test shot sequences underwater. Yet with technology moving so fast, striking a balance between taking risks on innovation and using tried and tested routes is one the VFX super must weigh.
“The risk lies in not doing it,” declares Letteri. “We’ve never been conservative about what’s required of us to figure out a way of doing what hasn’t been done before. If you don’t try you are never going to get there.”
While not strictly a visual effects technique, high frame rates can be another tool to accentuate realism. Letteri worked on The Hobbit which was filmed at 48 frames a second although the hyper-vivid quality was not to everyone’s taste.
“We are testing [HFR] for Avatar,” Letteri confirms. “Audiences are used to seeing 24 frames per second where the intermediate frames go blank and their mind fills the space with an image. It engages the imagination in a certain way. There’s a case for high frame rates with stereo 3D and lots of fast motion and you want to erase motion blur. It depends on the intent of the filmmaker. They might experiment and see if it can be used it to the advantage of certain scenes within a film.”
He feels that audiences are more likely to suspend their disbelief seeing some physical effects like miniatures and stop motion “because there’s a physical reality to it even though they know it’s not real” but that CGI is unforgiving. “We have to get everything absolutely right and not slip up otherwise the fact that it’s not real will strike a more discordant note in the audience’s mind.”
That said, he says it’s often easier to solve a problem in a computer “because you quickly run into limitations when you do it physically.
“I think we’ll be able to reach a point where we won’t be able to tell what’s real and what’s not,” he says. “You will hit the limit of what you need every pixel to look like to do exactly what it would have done if you photographed that character. For some kinds of effects, I think we are already there.”
A keen astronomer who has long harbored fantasies about traveling to outer space, Avatar is a dream come true.
“When Jim said ‘let’s go to Alpha Centauri and make a whole new world” I couldn’t wait,” he says. “That’s where I’m going.”
Joe Letteri the director of Weta shares a bit about working on Avatar and the Avatar sequels. Joe grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has worked on films ranging from Star Trek to Jurassic Park and is a pioneer in the motion capture world.
Another lovely interview with Jenn Stafford. This one goes into a bit more detail of how she got the job, and what she brings to the table.
As a bonus I came across a YouTube Dance Reel of her.
Hey everyone, I got this link from Alan, it appears the UK version of the Avatar Facebook page shows they are going live Monday at 10:00 am CST. Looks like its a trailer and Q&A about the upcoming movie Alita: Battle Angel. So far I am not seeing anything similar on the US page, but here is the link. Hopefully we get some Avatar updates as well.