Watch: Jon Landau digs into the environmental message of Avatar: The Way of Water
Avatar: The Way of Water producer Jon Landau said he believes the franchise’s strong environmental message has the potential to “inspire” audiences.
Director James Cameron’s first film Avatar, in 2009, had ecological issues at its heart – and the sequel The Way of Water puts the relationship between humanity and nature even further.
“I think initially, when we were doing the first Avatar, it was something the studio had to be convinced was not negative,” Landau told Yahoo UK when talking about on-screen climate change. .
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He added: “What we tried to tell them is that we have a responsibility to tell stories that have societal themes.
“If you look at classic literature, whether it’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin or To Kill a Mockingbird, those are stories that have influenced society’s views on things. We can do that in movies too, but we have to entertain first.
“I think Avatar showed that we can entertain but we can still inspire. Avatar: The Way of the Water is a continuation of that.”
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Landau said he thinks the prominence of environmental issues in Avatar can have a real impact on how people perceive the effects of climate change.
He added, “We want to play an ongoing role in waking people up to the issues facing our world. Those issues are the environment, those issues are societal, and I think Avatar: The Way of the Water touches to those two things.”
The Way of Water follows Na’vi couple Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) as they make the difficult decision to flee their village with their young family in order to escape the threat of Quaritch (Stephen Lang) and “heaven people”.
They attempt to find refuge with the Metkayina – a clan of Na’vi who live in and around the water, having a unique connection to the ocean – despite this group’s apprehensions.
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Landau said: “The Sullys in these films are refugees, seeking refuge with a clan of people who don’t want to accept them.
“We have a force with machines and weapons invading a society, for what reason? Out of greed? These are all things that are important topics to discuss today.”
As for the future, Landau said there’s a clear “roadmap” for three more Avatar sequels – not that they’ll necessarily be able to top The Way of Water’s epic scale.
He said: “I don’t know if we can go much further than this story. This story has it all. It has character growth. It has character sacrifice. It has character loss, a journey and an emotion.
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“We want to do that in all of our movies, whether it’s Titanic or Avatar or Avatar: The Way of Water. We hope to continue that in all of the sequels.”
Avatar: The Waterway is in theaters and IMAX starting December 16.
Watch the trailer for Avatar: The Way of the Water