The Internet has long bashed James Cameron's blockbuster hit "Avatar" as nothing more than a thinly-disguised remake of the classic story "Pocahontas". Could it be, however, that the director found inspiration for the storyline in a more fraudulent way? 


Film writer Eric Ryder filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles last week claiming that Cameron and Co. ripped off elements of a movie slated for possible development through the director's Lightstorm Entertainment firm.


According to the complaint, the film "KRZ 2068" follows "a corporation's colonization and plundering of a distant moon's lush and wondrous natural setting, the corporation's spy sent to crush an insurrection on the distant moon among anthropomorphic, organically created beings populating that moon, and the spy's remote sensing experiences with the beings, emotional attachment to one of them in particular, and eventual spiritual transformation into a leader of the lunar beings' revolt against the corporation's mining practices."


Ryder says the story was pitched to Lightstorm "with the expectation and understanding that he would be compensated and receive writer and produced credits, in the event any of the KRZ development project's material was used in a motion picture released for commercial distribution."


Even more interesting is the statement that "KRZ 2068" would take advantage of 3D effects to better "infuse the story."


Eventually, the lawsuit claims that Lightstorm ended development after two years because, and this is the real kicker, "no one would be interested in an environmentally themed science fiction feature film."


As we all know, "Avatar" went on the become the #1 movie of all-time; with a worldwide gross in excess of $2.7 billion. If Ryder's lawsuit is legit, that would result in a substantial financial windfall for the writer; as well as far-reaching consequences for the planned sequels


Cameron's lawyers or Lightstorm have yet to comment on the lawsuit. 

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Did James Cameron steal the plot of 'Avatar'?
New lawsuit contends director lifted the story from another proposed film offered to his production company.