Avatar 2’s Epic Cut Space Battle Could’ve Majorly Damaged Avatar 3

Avatar The Way of Water cut a major scene involving an epic space battle. However, as exciting as it sounds, this was actually the right decision.

Avatar: The Way of Water‘s incredible success bodes well for the future of James Cameron’s epic space franchise, but the movie’s cut space battle could have seriously damaged Avatar 3. Cameron’s ambition for the Avatar franchise is obvious. Even before Avatar: The Way of Water was released, the veteran director had outlined his plans for an extensive continuation of the series, filming expensive sequels back to back and gambling on the success of his first follow-up. As such, anything that could compromise the overall plan is a potentially major obstacle.

Per the original script, Avatar 2 originally featured an epic set piece away from the planet Pandora. Via EW, co-writer Rick Jaffa revealed that Cameron was keen to include a space sequence with protagonists Neytiri and Jake battling their enemies above the planet’s surface. As he put it, “There was one idea of a space battle with Na’vi…we talked a lot about it… At the end of the day, the whole script got thrown out because it just didn’t really work with the story we were telling.” On one level, this cut is somewhat disappointing. However, in the grand scheme of the overall story, the decision to ax it was undoubtedly correct.

Related: Pandora Theory Would Explain Why James Cameron Is Making Avatar 4 & 5

Avatar 2’s Space Battle Could’ve Weakened Its Avatar 3 Set Up

Avatar 2 3D James Cameron

Cameron’s determination to fully flesh out the world of Pandora is evident not just from both films in the series so far, but in his stated plans for the future. The Terminator and Aliens director has already revealed his intentions to show a different side to the Na’vi in Avatar 3, using so-called “Ash people” as villains. This approach again indicates that a different facet of planet Pandora will be on display, with Avatar 3 perhaps focusing on a volcanic region devoid of the vibrant life that makes Pandora worth defending.

This continued focus on Pandora is promising, as the world has enough contrasting cultures and biomes to support several feature-length movies. However, had Avatar 2 been the first film to take the action away from the planet’s surface, returning to Pandora in Avatar 3 could have felt slightly anti-climactic. Exploring the Avatar universe beyond Pandora is clearly a fascinating prospect. However, doing so so early in the series when there are more Pandora-based stories to be told would risk making the planet seem smaller and less significant, undermining the events of a future Avatar sequel. While cutting the space battle lost Avatar 2 a great set piece, it may be beneficial in the bigger picture.

Avatar’s Earth Story Hints Mean Avatar 2 Needed Its Space Battle Cut

Avatar Neytiri in front of Earth

A further complicating factor behind the decision to cut the Avatar 2 space battle is that Cameron has already confirmed that some sequels will take place away from Pandora on Earth. As the director told Variety, “Just like Dune takes place across worlds, the later Avatars take place across, certainly across two worlds, because some of it takes place on Earth as the story evolves.” Given that the series will naturally move away from Pandora, putting Avatar‘s first venture into outer space in The Way of Water when future sequels will return to the planet anyway doesn’t make much sense.

From a narrative perspective, it would make far more sense for the series’ first look at the universe beyond Pandora to come as and when the wider concerns of the story dictate leaving the planet behind. A major space battle in Avatar: The Way of Water – while cool as a concept – would have felt somewhat out of place. As it is, it’s far better that a space scene is reserved for Avatar 3 and beyond.

More: Avatar Sequels Update Avoids The Worst Possible Jake & Neytiri Future

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