James Cameron has only gone and announced four new Avatar movies without even a passing thought towards his franchise-in-waiting True Lies with a rejuvenated Arnold Schwarzenegger. C’mon Jimmy, wake up! We want True Lies 2!
James Cameron has gone viral on Twitter again – this time for two reasons. One, a hoax about making a gazillion new Avatar movies in response to a comic tweeting about not remembering any of the characters’ names.
The other reason The Terminator creator’s name is on everyone’s social media lips is that he’s told an audience at CinemaCon in Las Vegas this week that he plans to make four more Avatar films making the saga a five-part franchise.
But no word for the film he made back in the 1990s that’s crying out for a sequel – True Lies! The action-adventure cost a huge amount of money to make (what Cameron movie doesn’t) but it also tripled its costs at the box office and remains an audience favourite. In fact, it’s still one of Schwarzenegger’s best films after Terminator 1 and 2.
But despite its popularity, despite the fact Arnie is back in front of the camera after his sojourn into politics, despite Cameron’s creative juices clearly flowing, and despite the fact franchise reinvention and sequels are proving box office gold now, True Lies 2 is nothing more than a distant dream.
Why didn’t James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger get together straight away for a True Lies sequel?
A couple of reasons. Both the writer-director and his leading star were eager to make a sequel initially. However, before any scripts were written, Cameron decided to tackle Titanic which turned into a mega hit. It made more money than any other film at the US box office previously and gave Cameron, for the first time, Academy Awards success.
The process of bringing Titanic to the screen, and its success, made a significant impression on Cameron. His ambition to push the boundaries of technology coincided with an unrelenting obsession with the sunken ship leading to personal and professional expeditions to explore the wreck.
Some of this was captured in the documentary film Ghosts of the Abyss (with friend and actor Bill Paxton) where the director showcased his robot camera units which had the ability to go inside the Titanic and film rooms, corridors and even personal closets, previously out of reach to researchers.
When 9/11 happened in 2001, and with Cameron’s attentions elsewhere, it was felt True Lies 2 was dead and buried. Indeed, Cameron is quoted as saying: “…since September 11, I’ve never felt comfortable generating laughs with nuke-toting Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. True Lies, even though it has a cautionary thread underneath the pratfalls, is in a strange way a product of a more innocent time.”
Now with the revelation of four Avatar films taking up Cameron’s professional time for the next seven years, and Arnie being in his mid-seventies by the time the director has finished his sci-fi saga, True Lies 2 will have to remain a figment of this fan’s imagination.
Avatar 2 will arrive in theatres in 2018 with follow-ups in 2020, 2022 and 2023.