James Cameron says Chinese people can live on Pandora too

Senior Editor
09.19.12 31 Comments

James Cameron recently spoke out about the inherent plausibility of Chinese Na’avi on the fictional planet of Pandora in some of his planned Avatar sequels, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “it’s logical that there would be Chinese on Pandora.”

Hmm, so why do you think he brought up such an issue, other than that it was obviously the most pressing question on the world’s collective psyche? Ooh, this is fun, let’s see if you can guess. I’ll even make it multiple choice. So, did James Cameron say that there could be Chinese people on Pandora because…

A. He’s dating Bai Ling and she needs a job?
B. He wants Pandora to have a railroad and he needs someone to build it?
C. He wanted to subvert that old joke about why there are no Arabs on Star Trek into a cautionary tale about Chinese dominance?
or, D. He wants to flatter the Chinese, because they have money and cheap labor?


Now that James Cameron is doing business with China, don’t be surprised if Chinese Na’vi pop up in the Avatar sequels. In August, the Cameron/Pace Group, which the director founded with Vince Pace, announced CPG China, a joint venture with the state-owned Tianjin North Film Group and Tianjin Hi-Tech Holding Group to provide camera systems and other 3D production services in the northern port city of Tianjin.|
Cameron, 58, still plans to shoot the performance-capture work on Avatar 2 and 3 in Los Angeles, liveaction photography in Wellington, New Zealand, once preproduction finishes and filming gets under way in 2013. “That was the model for the first film, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he tells THR.
But Cameron acknowledges that there are reasons to do some of the work on the films in China, saying, “Within five years, China could easily be as big a gross-revenue market for film as North America, and there are very specific economic incentives for having both Chinese content and Chinese co-production.”

Crap, I’m bad at reading comprehension, was it B?

“We are running the numbers to see if that makes sense.” At very least, the director could recruit Chinese actors to work in the movies, which will be distributed worldwide by Fox (though Cameron has not set release dates yet). “For Avatar, we can certainly use Chinese actors as performance capture actors because any accent issues will hide within the Na’vi accent,” says Cameron.

Hiding an accent, eh? Why, those sneaky Orientals, always hiding something…

“We are projecting a future in Avatar, and if you project that future out, it is logical that there would be a number of Chinese amongst the contingent on Pandora.” [THR]

First Karate Kid had to move to China and become Kung Fu Kid (except in name), then the Red Dawn bad guys had to change from Chinese to North Koreans, and now we have Chinese Na’avi. Is it racist to call this trend “yellow-washing?” …Don’t answer that. BUT HOW WILL THE CHINESE INFLUENCE AFFECT JAMES CAMERON’S BLOATED LOVE LETTER TO THE NOBLE SAVAGE MYTH, HOW!? The Chinese government might be a little sensitive about Avatar’s overt anti-totalitarianism. So maybe this time, instead of exploiting the locals for unobtanium, the corporate bad guys gradually teach the Na’avi that living in a many-bunked, windowless dormitory is almost as good as their home tree, and the thrill of riding a flying blue dinosaur that you control with your ponytail boner is matched only by the thrill one gets from assembling circuit boards for Mac computers. See? Everyone lives happily ever after.

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