With principle photography (live-action and motion-capture) completed on both Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 there should be some celebration involved as many people weren’t sure if James Cameron was going to be able to complete all four of his sequels. They still have to finish-up Avatar 4 and Avatar 5, but having two in the post-production phase should be a step in the right direction to delivering on his ambitious plan.
However, it sounds like things didn’t go terribly smoothly in the development process according to James Cameron. During a chat on The Marianne Williamson Podcast (via The Playlist) the filmmaker revealed that he had to threaten to fire screenwriters because they weren’t listening to his instructions about waiting until figuring out what worked in the first film before adding new ideas and stories. Despite the “threat of firing,” it doesn’t look like he followed through with it.
CAMERON: “When I sat down to write the sequels, I knew there were going to be three at the time, and eventually it turned into four, I put together a group of writers and said, ‘I don’t want to hear anybody’s new ideas or anyone’s pitches until we have spent some time figuring out what worked on the first film, what connected, and why it worked. They kept wanting to talk about the new stories. I said, ‘We aren’t doing that yet.’ Eventually, I had to threaten to fire them all because they were doing what writers do, which is to try and create new stories. I said, ‘We need to understand what the connection was and protect it, protect that ember and that flame.’”
The writing team on the first three Avatar sequels includes James Cameron, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Josh Friedman and Shane Salerno. They all share “story by” credit then divided-up the screenplays across Avatar 2 to Avatar 4. Shane Salerno co-writing the finale, Avatar 5, with James Cameron.
Cameron is known to be a complete control-freak on his productions and micromanaging the script development on four films is certainly something unsurprising given how much time he would be investing filming the movies and wanting to make sure he wasn’t wasting time/money pointless things. He’s also a writer himself and was closely working with them to execute his vision that would be told over five different films.
Jim also doesn’t suffer people working on his projects that don’t listen to him and has had to fire people even deep in production. Luckily, it doesn’t look like anyone was actually fired off the films.
SOURCE: THE MARIANNE WILLIAMSON PODCAST