James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi movie Avatar is the highest grossing movie of all time, and on Friday a special edition of Avatar will be back in theaters to scoop up some more cash. But Cameron has even higher aspirations, saying that he hopes to build a franchise fan following akin to Star Wars…and Star Trek.
James Cameron wants his own Trekkies (Avataries? – Pandorians?)
On Friday select theaters will open Avatar: Special Edition, an extended version of the film with nine minutes of additional footage, which should add a few bucks to the $2.4 Billion total it already has. However, Cameron and his team are said to be looking at Avatar as much more than just a popular movie, but more like the beginning of a franchise.
Cameron has said he plans to develop two additional feature films set in the Avatar universe, but those will not come for a few years. In the short term Cameron is now finishing a companion novel that will provide more backstory for the characters in Avatar. The writer/director sees the book as just the beginning of an extended universe, but thinks it will be even better than another familiar franchise’s, telling the LA Times.
[The novel] will also be the bible for any future publication, a look-up guide for future writers who can come in and work within the world…. Think about all the ‘Star Trek’ novels and how they contradicted each other for a few years and it made it tricky to be a Trekkie for a while.
Beyond the novel, Cameron makes it clear that he is hoping to build a fan following for Avatar like George Lucas did for Star Wars and Gene Roddenberry did for Star Trek, telling the LA Times:
You’ve got to compete head on with these other epic works of fantasy and fiction, the Tolkiens and the ‘Star Wars’ and the ‘Star Treks. People want a persistent alternate reality to invest themselves in and they want the detail that makes it rich and worth their time. They want to live somewhere else. Like Pandora.
Cameron’s comparisons Star Trek are nothing new. Back when Avatar was release he spoke about the Na’vi language developed for the film and once again contrasted his work with Star Trek, telling EW the goal for him and linguist Paul Froemer was to "out-Klingon Klingon".
Director James Cameron with some Avatar fans
So what do you think? Can James Cameron’s Avatar eventually grow into a multi-media extended universe like Star Wars and Star Trek, inspiring a devoting following, conventions, and the rest? Or will it just end up being a popular series of films like say the Matrix? Only time will tell.
Avatar: Special Edition opens Friday August 27th. More info at the official site. Here is the trailer.