An alternate design for the Na’vi in James Cameron’s original Avatar is revealed in an early piece of concept art for the hit 2009 film.
An early piece Avatar concept art reveals an unused design for a Na’vi Elder in James Cameron’s original film. Released in 2009, Avatar tells the story of paraplegic Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who is tasked with using an avatar body to infiltrate a community of Na’vi, the native inhabitants of the alien moon Pandora. However, Jake’s task becomes more complicated when he falls in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), the daughter of a Na’vi chieftain. The film was a massive hit financially and was widely praised for its world-building and jaw-dropping visual effects. 13 years later, audiences returned to the world of Pandora in Avatar: The Way of WaterCameron’s long-awaited follow-up.
A piece of concept art shared by artist Joseph C. Pepe, who features in The Art of Avatar: James Cameron’s epic adventure, highlights how daunting a task it was to create everyone Avatar‘s flora and fauna, especially the Na’vi.
The art, which is from very early in development in 2004, long before creatures were finished, is a mock-up of a male Na’vi Elder. Although many elements of the design would be changed and refined as development continued, the Na’vis’ distinct bioluminescence was apparently a key element from the very early stages.
What’s next for the Avatar franchise after The Way of Water
Although it was unclear whether there would still be interest in the franchise after 13 years, Avatar: The Way of Water has been an undeniable success. The film is currently the 6th highest grossing film of all time and is likely to climb even further up the list in the coming weeks. Now, as has been confirmed by Cameron himself Avatar franchise is set to continue with a series of sequels. Avatar 3 was filmed at the same time as the latest sequel and is currently in post-production, with a release date currently set for 2024. Although the film is still two years away, plot details have already been released, teasing a further expansion of the world of the story, including new locations and a new volcano-based tribe of Na’vi.
In addition to Avatar 3Cameron has plans too Avatar 4 and 5. All four sequels to the first film were planned and written at the same time, meaning that the overall story of the franchise and the Sully family has already been completely mapped out. Fewer details are known Avatar 4 at this point, but Cameron has confirmed that part of the first act has already been filmed. The film is expected to further explore the world of the story and Cameron has teased that Avatar 4, in particular, offers a major turning point for the franchise. It has also been teased that the fifth and final film will take place partially on Earth, a first for the Pandora-based franchise.
Many questions remain about the future Avatar sequels, but Cameron recently clarified that the entire Sully family will remain at the center of the story for all the films, allaying any concerns that Jake and Neytiri will pass the baton to the younger generation. Given that the third film has already been filmed, it seems very likely that it will keep its 2024 release date, but it is less clear whether the subsequent Avatar sequels will keep their dates of 2026 and 2028 respectively. In any case, more Pandora and more Na’vi action is definitely coming!
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Source: Joseph C. Pepe