Back in 2010, director James Cameron famously denied that Avatar was an animated movie. This, despite the fact that animators and CG specialists painstakingly animated 60% of the movie and that it featured completely digitally animated (and imaginary) characters, creatures, and landscapes:
Instead of acknowledging the creative input of the animators, Cameron credited the actors who suited up for motion capture:
“The thing that people need to keep very strongly in mind is that this is not an animated film. These actors did not just stand at a lectern and do a voice part, and then animators went off for the next two years and created the entire physicality of their performance.”
His comments understandably confused a lot of people. But in a recent interview, Cameron seemed to admit that the movie was, in fact, a work of animation, that it was crafted by a team of animators. Speaking to Variety, Cameron said:
“I didn’t really return to the project until I saw that there was [sic] significant advancements in facial performance in character and animation.
From 2013 until now we’ve mostly designed the whole world across four new movies. We’ve cast them, and we’ve [performance] captured movie two, movie three, and the first part of movie four. We’re mostly done with the live-action. People don’t really understand the scope and complexity of the process. It’s like making two and a half big animated films.”
It only took 10 years for the director to acknowledge the role that animators and CGI artists played in the franchise.
Cameron is currently working on not one, not two, but four Avatar sequels. The production is using the same CG house used in the original, Weta Digital, a New Zealand-based visual effects company founded by no less than Peter Jackson.
There’s not much info on the upcoming Avatar sequels but it’s safe to say that the flick will, once again, feature completely animated characters and creatures created by Weta.
What we do know is that the first sequel will hit theaters on December 17, 2021, while the rest of the sequels will be released in 2023, 2025, and 2027. Cameron added that filming the sequels are on schedule although the dates could be pushed back if there are delays.