I connected with Avatar's message about taking care of our planet. How can we create our own Pandora here on earth? Julie Patrick, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Go for a walk in the forest. Go snorkeling in a coral reef. Appreciate the nature we have. I think that from a respect for nature comes action. The best thing people can do right now to help the planet is to understand how we've got to make a fairly rapid transition to alternative energy.
Is Avatar a Native American story? Robert Thijsen, Oranjestad, Aruba
Not exclusively. I think Americans locate the story there most quickly. But Avatar's now the No. 1 movie in Brazil, and Brazil has a lot of issues with the displacement of indigenous populations and deforestation. There's a tribe in India that is getting pushed off its sacred mountain for a bauxite mine. The film is hugely popular in China, and people there are getting displaced by the government to build dams. So people are relating to it from all these different perspectives.
Will there be an Avatar 2? If so, will it include the same characters? Jonathan Clarke, Taipei
If we make a sequel, we'll definitely continue the story of the main characters: Sam [Worthington] and Zoe [Saldana] and Sigourney [Weaver]. Well, I don't know about Sigourney. Sigourney's character is dead, but nobody's really ever dead in a science-fiction movie. I think it's more of a question of when than of if.
What was the most powerful motivator for writing Avatar? Marc Monroe, Paris
One powerful motivator was the opportunity to do a mega-design project, where you get to design everything--the vehicles and the creatures and the plants and everything that's in front of the camera.
Do you have a formula for creating a blockbuster film? Michael Lawrence, Nashville
I have principles, not a formula. You create interesting characters. You put them in a story that has a number of dilemmas. Once you have the audience on the character's side, you challenge that character. You try to create one or more emotional, epiphanous moments within a film. And you provide great visuals.
Which character trait is the most important secret to your success? Daniel Kronlid, Umea, Sweden
I would say curiosity and the desire to be personally challenged. Those two things are what drive me.
Have you ever considered making a small-budget film? Yusef M. Taylor, Washington
I've had a few projects over the years that have fallen by the wayside for various reasons. But frankly, I like big productions. I'm not particularly interested in doing a little film just for the sake of doing a little film.
Why are your movies so long? Carolina A. Miranda, Brooklyn
[Laughs.] Well, Carolina, I'd like to point out that Avatar is almost half an hour shorter than Titanic, so I'm improving. I've probably had more people ask me why Avatar was so short.
How do you think the use of CGI and 3-D will affect cinema? Josh Coppenbarger, Normal, Ill.
Obviously there's a milestone with Avatar in terms of the emotionality of CG characters that will have acceptance from here on. I think we're at an interesting stage where if we can imagine it, we can create it. At this point, it's down to storytelling and imagination.
Now that Avatar has surpassed Titanic as the highest-grossing film ever, do you plan to take another 12-year break? Gerardo Valero, Mexico City
[Laughs.] I didn't plan on taking 12 years last time, but my current plan is not to take 12 years. If not an Avatar film, then something like that because the enthusiasm and passion and the capability of that team make me want to do another film like this pretty much right away.