WETA’s Letteri On “Avatar” Sequel Ambitions

James Cameron spent years developing the technology that allowed him to create “Avatar,” the film which pushed computer graphics to a new level on the big screen when it was released back in 2009. He and his team however have no intention of resting on their laurels for the three upcoming sequels.

Out doing promotional rounds for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” WETA Digital’s Joe Letteri tells Collider that they are already pushing boundaries forward again in terms of the technology being developed to create these productions:

“We will be. We know that because we know what’s coming. But the work now is very much the nuts and bolts. There’s a lot of engineering work going on just to build the infrastructure for what we’re going to need to do throughout the next three films. There’s a little bit of creative work that we’re just starting to dip into, but there’s infrastructure that needs to be built and that’s where most of our work has been so far.”

“I think what we’re trying to do for the Avatar sequels will be the most ambitious things we’ve ever tried. James [Cameron] just has such a complete idea of this world – and it is a whole world and it’s a story he wants to tell over three more films. It’s huge in terms of breadth and it’s detailed in innumerable ways I couldn’t get into. It’s the kind of project that requires both very specific high level realism at a small micro-level and that micro-level realism needs to work across an entire planet.”

Letteri was also asked about the underwater elements of at least one of the films and he admits that those sequences are “still on the drawing boards. We haven’t put anybody into water yet. We’re just trying to work out the infrastructure for it first.”