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Photos: The world of ‘Avatar’

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  1. 'Star Wars' for a new generation?

    The most talked-about film of 2009-2010 is James Cameron's sci-fi epic "Avatar." Its fantasy world on the planet Pandora has been compared to the "Star Wars" universe. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Hero in blue, and as himself

    Sam Worthington portrays Jake Sully, a paralyzed veteran who finds joy, and the use of his legs, when his consciousness is transplanted into a lab-grown "Avatar," a giant body made to resemble the Na'vi people of the planet Pandora. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Behind blue skin

    Actress Zoe Saldana's real face was never seen in "Avatar," but her character, Neytiri, domainates the screen. She plays one of the Na'vi, a race of 10-feet-tall, blue-skinned creatures who live in harmony with nature. (20th Century Fox, Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Tanked

    Jake meets his avatar, a genetically engineered hybrid of human DNA mixed with DNA from the natives of Pandora. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Trying out the new bod

    Frustrated by his paralysis in his human body, Jake can't wait to get started walking and running once he's awake in the fully functioning body of his Avatar. The Avatar was created to work with Jake's twin brother, a scientist, but when he is killed, an untrained Jake steps in. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Battle ready

    The humans on Pandora are well prepared for war. Their weapons include 16-foot-tall Amplified Mobility Platform suits as well as heavily armed gunships, which are paired against the simple arrows of the Na'vi. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. What a sight

    The humans are awed by the natural beauty of Pandora, which includes floating mountains, enormous trees that can house hundreds, and breathtaking flora. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. High in the sky

    Pandora's majestic floating mountains dwarf a massive gunship. A real Chinese mountain called the Southern Sky Column provided inspiration for the filmmakers, and the Chinese have since renamed it "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain." (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Plotting an attack

    Col. Miles Quaritch, right, plays on Jake's military background to try and enlist him to help bring down the Na'vi. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The guys with the ties are never good

    Scientist Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), right, faces off numerous times against Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi), the Pandora station supervisor. Weaver's character reportedly was at once point named Shipley, an homage to her fierce character, Ellen Ripley, in Cameron's 1986 film "Aliens." (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Hang on tight

    The Thanators are just one of the numerous native species on Pandora. James Cameron described the creatures as "panthers from hell." (Weta / 20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Going against orders

    Helicopter pilot Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriguez, a.k.a. Ana Lucia on "Lost") is a great help to the Na'vi in their climactic battle to save their planet. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Stomping grounds

    Col. Quaritch drives the AMP Suit, a formidable weapon in the humans' battle against the Na'vi. Fans of Cameron's "Aliens" may remember a similar suit being worn by Sigourney Weaver's Ripley as she fought to protect young surviving colonist Newt. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A film 15 years in the making

    "Avatar" director James Cameron reviews a scene with Sigourney Weaver, Joel David Moore and Sam Worthington. Cameron wrote an 80-page treatment for the film back in 1994, but says he had to wait for technology to catch up with his vision for the film. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
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Access Hollywood
updated 4/21/2010 6:22:23 PM ET 2010-04-21T22:22:23

“Avatar,” the top-grossing film of all time, showcased its groundbreaking 3-D technology as the Na’vi soared through the skies of Pandora — but in the film’s sequel, James Cameron intends to go aquatic.

The director told the L.A. Times that a planned follow-up to the blockbuster film would head for the fictional planet’s oceans.

“Part of my focus in the second film is in creating a different environment — a different setting within Pandora,” he told the newspaper. “And I’m going to be focusing on the ocean on Pandora, which will be equally rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative, but it just won’t be a rain forest. I’m not saying we won’t see what we’ve already seen; we’ll see more of that as well.”

He also hinted at space travel — and a potential third film.

“We created a broad canvas for the environment of film. That’s not just on Pandora, but throughout the Alpha Centauri AB system,” he said. “And we expand out across that system and incorporate more into the story — not necessarily in the second film, but more toward a third film.”

While “Avatar” cost hundreds of millions of dollars and took years to produce, Cameron said he’d have to trim the costs and time for “Avatar 2.”

“The challenge will be on the next “Avatar” picture… to do what we did before at half the price and in half the time,” he explained. “Again, that’s an impossible goal, we won’t accomplish that, but if we can reduce by 25 percent in both categories, we’ll have really accomplished something.”

In the meantime, “Avatar” will make a return to theaters in August with an extra six minutes of footage, with the DVD arriving this Thursday — just in time for Earth Day, a cause close to Cameron’s heart.

“I figured I’d be on vacation right now. I figured I’d make my big statement with the movie and let everyone else sort out what to do,” the director said of the film’s environmental message. “Turns out there aren’t that many people figuring out what to do… The average American doesn’t even believe climate change is real, they think it’s all a hoax… You’ve got to work against that.”

Copyright 2013 by NBC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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