It’s been close to nine years since audiences were introduced to the world of Pandora in Avatar, and the first of four sequels is still over two years away. Why is it taking so long for James Cameron to follow up the biggest film of all time?
A CGI-laden sci-fi epic that soon became the highest grossing film of all time, Avatar was considered a game-changer at the time, one that lay the foundations for the special effects heavy franchise blockbusters of today. Quickly after that flush of success – with a whopping $2.788bn in the bank – Cameron and Fox announced two sequels to the movie. Hardly surprising given Cameron had been talking about plans to make the film a franchise if the first one was successful enough all the way back in 2006. That sequel number soon expanded to four but filming on the projects themselves was slow to happen. Shooting days were set, then delayed shortly after repeatedly.
Now, however, the first two Avatar sequels are finally in the production stages, which kicked off last Summer; originally scheduled for 2014 and 2015, Avatar 2 and 3 will now premiere in December 2020 and 2021. That date could change (especially as Avatar may change hands from Fox to Disney), but for now, this is the most solid indication of a release schedule we’ve had for the franchise since its announcement.
This Page: Is The Avatar Sequel Delay Actually A Problem?
While all this ultimately means we are getting Avatar sequels, they’re coming incredibly late in the game. At over a decade between films, that’s longer than between Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens. Many feel like the movie’s franchise possibilities – and it’s position as a cultural landmark – has already passed. So why did it take so long?
Is The Avatar Sequel Delay A Problem?
The question of whether there’s much hope for the Avatar sequels and whether or not audiences are all that excited for more of this world has been a prominent one over the years, but specifically on the industry level the sheer length of time it’s taking to get these films made is striking. This is a business that lives or dies on chasing the popular thing of the day, and audiences can be notoriously fickle. You can risk rushing out a product to meet that fleeting demand and making a bad movie, or you can take your time and miss the buzz altogether. These are issues that Fox may have worried about when it came to their Avatar hopes, and even a potential studio change and lifespan extension via theme parks, that’s only become more pointed with time.
Yet James Cameron has always managed to soar over the shop talk of mere studios and executives. As one of the few directors in the industry who can essentially do whatever he wants, he has decided to take his time with the Avatar sequels and not be rushed by distributor demands or what is considered the cool thing of the day. Audiences are used to getting several films and TV shows a year from their favorite franchise, so Cameron being so deliberately slow with his makes it something of an anomaly in Hollywood.
Of course, that’s always been the case. Whether it was Terminator 2: Judgement Day, or Titanic, or the original Avatar, Cameron’s passion projects have always been treated as suspect by Hollywood – expensive follies destined to bomb. And each time, he’s proven that wrong, delivering revered crowdpleasers that rank as some of the biggest movies ever and muscle into serious awards discussion. To bet against Avatar 2 under any circumstances (remember that the first movie took well over a decade too to come together, hence shooting the sequels back-to-back) is foolish.
Page 2 of 2: Why Have The Avatar Sequels Been So Delayed?
Walking Dead: Norman Reedus Promises ‘Closure’ When Season 8 Returns
Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus has promised plenty of “closure” when the show’s eighth season returns this week. The All Out War arc pitting Rick’s alliance against Negan’s Saviors dominated the first half of the season, with the good guys scoring first blood by luring a herd of the undead right to the door of Savior headquarters. Naturally, the remaining episodes weren’t all smooth sailing and Team Negan hit back with a vengeance by peppering Rick’s community with explosives. As if that wasn’t enough trouble for the bearded protagonist, the midseason finale revealed that Rick’s son Carl was suffering from a fatal zombie bite.
In between all of the flying bullets and gushing blood, the first half of The Walking Dead season 8 set up a plethora of intriguing plot threads. Aside from the obvious question of which team will ultimately win the war, storylines currently in need of resolution include how Rick will react to his son’s bite, how the Hilltop and Kingdom can bounce back, whether Morgan can resolve his moral struggle, what will become of the Scavengers and the fate of Aaron and Edith. Over at the Sanctuary, a huge question mark still hangs over whether Eugene will eventually redeem himself and Gabriel is also, somehow, still hanging in there.
According to Daryl Dixon himself, Norman Reedus, fans can expect these questions and more to be answered in the forthcoming 8 episodes. Speaking with EW, Reedus claims:
“It’s all resolution. It’s all the tying up of these ends of what’s laid out in front of us in all these different directions. There’s a lot of closure coming in the back eight, which is great. There’s been all this action and all the fighting and all these different factions that have been splitting off in these different directions, and it all kind of comes together in the end with closure in several different avenues. Some wrap up the way you think. Some wrap up not the way you think.”
Reedus’ comments will likely be reassuring for any fans who might have been unsure as to whether The Walking Dead would be able to wrap up its huge Savior conflict in the remaining episodes. If the actor is to be believed, the focus of this block will be primarily on resolving plots instead of setting up new ones. This echoes the sentiments of current showrunner Scott M. Gimple, who previously stated that the All Out War arc from the comic books would be covered completely in season 8.
Perhaps the most intriguing element of Reedus’ comments is his teasing promise that not everything will go exactly as fans expect. Although Carl’s bite was undoubtedly the most shocking moment of season 8A, there were rumors that Chandler Riggs would be leaving the show even before the season premiere had aired. As such, The Walking Dead would need to pull off something truly massive if it were to deliver a genuine and completely unexpected shock.
Exactly which stories Reedus believes will wrap up in a surprising way remains to be seen, but the ultimate fate of Negan could be a prime contender. Although no one really believes that the season will end with Negan beating Rick, taking everyone’s stuff and living happily ever after with his numerous wives, it’ll be interesting to see whether Rick carries out his promise to kill Negan, or whether he chooses a more merciful path.
The Walking Dead season 8 returns February 25th with ‘Honor’ on AMC.
Marvel’s Relaunching Its Comics… Again
Marvel is once again relaunching their comics with a new Avengers book and lineup—but how will fans react to their promised “fresh start” this summer? We’ve heard for years that Marvel Comics was planning to dial back their big events, which too often force comic book fans to read a lengthy list of titles just to get a complete story. Marvel’s multiple tie-ins each year have also led to a disquieting habit of relaunching their books every fall. 2015’s Secret Wars actually reset the entire universe, and Marvel just got done launching their Legacy initiative that was meant to be a back-to-basics approach akin to DC’s Rebirth.
For fans excited by the new and returning titles in Legacy and the reemergence of the classic numbering for long-running books, it looks like Marvel has once again pulled the rug out. To kick off Legacy last year, Marvel released Legacy #1 which featured Jason Aaron transitioning from his work building out Thor’s pantheon to explore the Avengers of 1,000,000 years ago. The book also teased the future of Marvel Comics, including the return of Wolverine and his possession of the Space Stone. That arc will play out in Infinity Countdown—meant to capitalize on Avengers: Infinity War this summer—but the ancient Avengers will be coming back to the comics in a new title soon.
IGN has the cover and some art for the upcoming Avengers #1 from Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness. The title will spearhead another relaunch for Marvel and will condense the various Avengers titles following the current ‘No Surrender’ arc. Check out the cover below, which reveals the ‘Big Three’ back together with some new and returning faces.
Though it’s certainly exciting to see Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor back together in the Avengers after all these years, the social media response to the news hasn’t been positive so far. For Marvel, the move comes with a new Editor-in-Chief and a number of new creatives. Key writers have exited, like Brian Michael Bendis did for DC, and it seems Marvel wants to provide yet another entry point for new readers. The problem, however, may be that these reboots tend to alienate established comic fans.
Marvel’s fresh start may not be to everyone’s liking, but the company is certainly presenting an intriguing team for the new Avengers book. Aside from the Big Three, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange will join the team. The latter character will only be around for a short time, though, as the roster will rotate. As for Black Panther’s appearance, writer Jason Aaron made it clear to IGN that he’s a big priority for Marvel.
“I think the Big Three of the Avengers are really, really close to being the Big Four. I think Black Panther definitely deserves to be at the heart of an Avengers team like this, when you’re talking about the biggest, most iconic characters from that lineage. He has a big, big role to play, not just in this arc, but in this book going forward, and it’s really fun to be writing him again.”
The performance of Black Panther in theaters so far makes it clear he’s a major player, and Captain Marvel could prove to be a similar hit when her film arrives next year. And filling out the roster will be She-Hulk and the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider, a character fans have been hoping to see in the MCU and one that made a big splash on TV last year. Their inclusion will also tie into their counterparts in 1,000,000 BC, as the new Avengers story will jump between the past and present of the team. What’s more, but Ghost Rider is one of the few Marvel heroes that have never joined the Avengers, and his M.O. is bound to clash with the rest of the team.
We’ll have to wait and see whether the latest relaunch will be a success or failure, but Avengers #1 looks like it will be an exciting book.
Justice League Honest Trailer: DC Gets It Sorta Down the Middle
Justice League got a digital release last week on February 13, so therefore the good folks over at Screen Junkies have created a Honest Trailer featuring cinema’s greatest squandered potential of 2017.
Justice League still sits at a surprisingly high score of 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, and continues to wow fans with just how much potential was actually squandered here. Zack Snyder, whether you like him or not, always creates great looking films, and after Batman v Superman, it seemed like he had a chance to course correct the rest of the DC cinematic universe. Once he bowed out of the project, due to a family tragedy, Joss Whedon then stepped forward as a shining beacon of hope for what could be the best possible scenario for Justice League. Unfortunately, that created months of problematic re-shoots to rework the overall tone of the film, which then created the now infamous “Moustachegate of 2017” that ended up ruining what could have been pretty great.
Related: Why Justice League’s CGI is So Bad
The biggest take away from this Honest Trailer is just how disappointing this film was. After the widely criticized Suicide Squad and the mostly celebrated Wonder Woman, Justice League sits largely in the middle: “When the best comic book characters ever unite for a film that’s just ok – you blew it! Again! How does this keep happening?” From the optimism of Joss Whedon taking over to the disappointing “priorities of Bret Ratner’s production company” (over-sexualization of Wonder Woman), they seem to arrive at the same conclusion as everyone else: “Man, I wish they’d release the Snyder Cut. Man, I wish the Snyder Cut wasn’t a made-up fanboy pipe dream.”
The better moments of this trailer come from breaking down each of the members of the Justice League. We’ve got “Broseidon, King of the Brocean,” “Cyborg, who’s there” and “Spider-Man, who in this movie goes by The Flash.” But also there’s Wonder Woman who was once a “three dimensional hero, turned into girl hung up on her ex,” and Batman, who wasn’t even close to being as cool as he was in the last one. Finally, we have Superman, the real CGI monster of this film. There’s also a great extended joke about all of the big plot points from BvS that were ignored, like “pretending Batman knew Clark Kent for more than 15 minutes,” along with an even better extended joke about all the Justice League trailer footage left out of the film’s theatrical cut.
As for Steppenwolf, the actual villain of the Justice League, Screen Junkies gets in a few well-earned jabs at him. For instance, this might be the first comic book movie villain who is every justifiably compared to Buster Bluth from Arrested Development. Also, it should not have been this hard for Joss Whedon to make a villain work. Maybe he didn’t have much to work with from the beginning, but if you can make Loki the Trickster even slightly menacing, surely Steppenwolf should be a formidable villain.
Justice League, or “Warner Brother’s Presents Joss Whedon’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League Part One of One”, is available now digitally, and releases on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13.
Source: Screen Junkies
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