Nevermind the tons of money getting pumped into the development of multiple Avatar sequels – John Oliver says it’s all moot as nobody out there wants to see them. The harsh criticism stems from this week’s episode of Oliver’s HBO series Last Week Tonight, which saw the comedian primarily discussing the nation’s power grid and its various issues. He also took a moment to address the subject of climate change, leading to the Avatar remark.
In the segment, John Oliver brings up the Climate Change Global Conference that was held in Copenhagen in 2009. At the time, several rich nations had pledged to channel $100 billion each year to less wealthy nations by 2020 with the goal of helping them better adapt to climate change. They were ultimately “nowhere close” to that goal, and Oliver compares the situation to the years-long development process for James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, suggesting that fans don’t genuinely care about them.
“Look, there are things that it’s okay to take a decade on and not deliver. The Avatar sequels, for instance. Take your time on those, James Cameron. No one gives a sh*t. I will give anyone in this audience a thousand dollars right now if they remember either of these characters’ names… Exactly. Aids to fight climate change, though, is something people actually need.”
John Oliver was referring to Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri and Sam Worthington’s Jake Skully with an on-screen graphic of the Avatar characters. The two were a part of the original movie’s main cast alongside Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Quaritch), Sigourney Weaver (Dr. Grace Augustine), CCH Pounder (Mo’at), Wes Studi (Eytukan), Laz Alonso (Tsu’tey), Michelle Rodriguez (Trudy Chacón), Giovanni Ribisi (Parker Selfridge), Joel David Moore (Dr. Spellman), and Dileep Rao (Dr. Max Patel).
James Cameron wrote and directed Avatar, and due to the movie’s immense success at the box office, it wasn’t a surprise when it was announced that there would be multiple sequels. Several members of the original cast are returning, including both Saldana and Worthington, among many others. Names like Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet have also been announced to join the franchise in Avatar 2. Cameron and the cast have simultaneously been working on Avatar 3 with preliminary plans to go up to Avatar 5 after finally wrapping up the next two movies.
The problem is that it’s been taking years to get these movies made due to the massive scope of the Avatar world, along with all of the time and money that comes along with developing multiple sequels at once. As of now, the plan is to release the next four installments respectively on Dec. 16, 2022; Dec. 20, 2024; Dec. 18, 2026; and Dec. 22, 2028. All of these movies are greenlit though James Cameron has suggested that if 2 and 3 flop in theaters, parts 4 and 5 would likely get shelved.
Many fans of the original Avatar, which is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, are in fact anticipating the sequels. It remains to be seen if they manage to reach the same heights as the original, both with critics and with its box office numbers, but Cameron has a good shot of proving John Oliver wrong. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver can be streamed on HBO Max.