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James Cameron Turned His Abandoned ‘Avatar’ Sequel Idea Into a New Graphic Novel

"Avatar: The High Ground" is set to hit bookstore shelves on December 6.

Avatar: The Way of Water

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

Courtesy of Disney

It’s been 13 years since James Cameron’s “Avatar” first opened in theaters, but the wait for more Pandora-set content is finally over. And there’s going to be a lot of it over the next decade.

Avatar: The Way of Water” opens in theaters this December, and Cameron has already shot an untitled third movie that is scheduled for 2024. Plus, Cameron is also hard at work on “Avatar 4” and “Avatar 5.”

With all of that coming down the pike,  you might think that Cameron had exhausted all of his ideas for future “Avatar” projects. But you’d be wrong. In a new interview with Total Film, the filmmaker revealed that one of his scrapped ideas for “The Way of Water” has been turned into a new graphic novel, titled “Avatar: The High Ground.”

“I was working with a team of writers,” Cameron said. “We had a lot of ideas. We kept trying to corral it into a box, and it never quite fit. So at a certain point, I said, ‘I’ll just finish it, and see if it’s a movie.’ I did. It came out, I think, at 130 pages. It was like, ‘Man, this is a great story. This is a hell of a read.’”

Cameron eventually realized that certain thematic elements were missing, and it would be impossible to film the story as a true sequel to “Avatar.”

“But it was missing one of those critical elements about sequels, which is that it didn’t go enough into the unexpected,” he said. “It also didn’t play enough by Avatar rules, which is to connect us to the dream world, that which has a spiritual component that we can’t even quite quantify in words. It ticked every other box, but it didn’t tick that one.”

Still, he believed the story was too good to waste, so Cameron and his team of writers opted to work the most important parts into the next two “Avatar” movies and release the rest as a graphic novel.

“We figured out a way to restructure the elements that we needed to distribute across the first two of the sequels, and relaunched it in a completely different way,” he said.

“Avatar: The High Ground” is set to be released on December 6. “Avatar: The Way of Water” opens in theaters on December 16.

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