It’s been almost two years since James Cameron taught us all a valuable lesson about the effects of pollution on adorable blue monsters in Avatar, which became the highest-grossing film ever made thanks to its horrifically influential use of 3-D technology. But we all knew that virtual 3-D was never going to be good enough for Cameron, and now we have proof: A joint press release from Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and Fox Filmed Entertainment has just announced plans to open an Avatar-themed land in Florida’s Walt Disney World, inside of the conservation-themed Animal Kingdom park. Cameron even teased that the park would involve settings from the upcoming Avatar sequels: “With two new Avatar films currently in development, we’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said the filmmaker.
It’s certainly an interesting next step for the franchise. (The deal also allows for future Avatar-themed lands at other Disney parks around the world.) On one hand, it almost seems endearingly low-tech: Considering that Pandora was mostly created via greenscreen for the movie, it’s actually pretty nifty to imagine seeing it rendered lovingly in real-life by Disney’s gang of puppeteers, botanists, and chemical engineers. The sheer scale of the thing is pretty crazy, too: By comparison, Star Tours seems pretty measly, right?
Still, as a film fan, I’m starting to get a little concerned. James Cameron already spent the better part of the last decade working on the first Avatar, and with two more films and now this massive undertaking, is it worth asking when — if ever? — he’s going to move on from Pandora? Cameron clearly seems to believe that the entire Avatar universe will be his masterwork, which is fine, but also seems like evidence of George Lucas-esque obsession.
Or maybe I’m wrong? Is Avatar this generation’s Star Wars, a franchise that will inspire a generation or two? What do you think? And which corner of Pandora would you be most excited to visit? Is it too much to ask for an Adults Only corner, where everyone receives a personal tendril with the ability to gently undulate?
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