It's been nearly three years since James Cameron's "Avatar" made box office history - and it's likely going to be at least another three until he tries for it again. Until then, fans of the planned trilogy (with a possible prequel to follow) are eager to extract all sorts of details from the 58-year-old director. 


Thankfully, Cameron (along with his producing partner Jon Landau) have been happy to drop some bread crumbs as they get to work on creating a side to Pandora we've never seen before: its oceans. 


“We will see the oceans of Pandora,” he said in an interview last year, ”which we haven’t seen at all, and that’s an ecosystem that I’m dying to start designing, because it's going to look spectacular.”


In the months leading up to Cameron's record-breaking deep sea dive earlier this year, speculation was rife that he was using the tech to not only explore, but also film scenes for the next films. In an interview with Coming Soon during a launch event for the Blu-ray version of "Titanic," Cameron dismissed those claims. 


“We’re doing ‘Avatar’ films now, so we’re making up an ocean ecosystem for Pandora," he said. "That’s gonna have less to do with the deep exploration that I’ve done than it has to do with my concerns about conservation of Earth’s oceans. The fact that we’re basically overfishing, climate change… a few degrees of temperature rise are gonna basically take out the coral reefs. All those beautiful images of the coral environments we all grew up with won’t exist in 50 years at the rate we’re going in terms of pumping greenhouse gases into the environment. These are the things that concern me.”


“I hope that explains it, ’cause people have connected the dots directly together. ‘Oh, going to the challenger deep has a direct connection to what we’re going to see in Avatar 2,’ and that’s not the case at all. It’s all the scuba diving I did before I even started the deep ocean stuff that has more of a direct connection to Avatar 2 & 3, which by the way won’t take place completely in or under the water. That’s just part of the environment of Pandora that we’re going to see.”


So there, people! It's the damage we can see for ourselves - and not necessarily the stark, alien landscape 35,000 feet down that will inspire Pandora's oceans. 


Cameron plans on starting pre-production on the sequels - to be shot concurrently - this coming January. 

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

James Cameron offers more 'Avatar' sequel details
Director explains how his conservation views will fit into the eagerly-awaited sequels.