Na’vi Dreams: Why Edward Norton and Matt Damon Turned Down Roles in Avatar
“A Na’vi or Nothing”
Many actors dream of being part of a successful film like Avatar: The Way of the Water. However, there are some who have refused the opportunity for various reasons. Surprisingly, Edward Norton is one of those actors who said “no” to James Cameron’s Avatar 2, but his reason is unexpected. Norton insisted on playing a Na’vi, the blue humanoid species from Pandora. James Cameron replied, “Okay, maybe in 3, 4 or 5 then.” This determination led Norton to decline the role in Avatar 2 and eventually find his place in another science fiction film, Alita: Battle Angel.
Matt Damon also said no to Avatar
Edward Norton is not the only actor who turned down a role in the Avatar universe. Matt Damon also rejected the opportunity to be part of the first film of the saga. This refusal is surprising, considering Damon was offered 10% of the box office profits, which could have been a $250 million gain. However, Damon had already signed a contract for another film in the Jason Bourne franchise at that time.
Avatar 3 and 4 are already partly filmed
Originally scheduled for release in 2024, 2026, and 2028, the release dates for Avatar movies 3, 4, and 5 have been pushed back. Avatar 3 is now set to be released in December 2025, while Avatar 4 is announced for December 2029. Avatar 5 is expected to conclude the saga in December 2031. These delays are due in part to the restructuring of 20th Century Fox after its acquisition by Disney.
On the positive side, three parts of the film were shot simultaneously, including Avatar: The Waterway and the full production of Avatar 3. The first act of Avatar 4 was also filmed. The fourth film will further explore the character of Jake and Neytiri’s youngest son, with a time jump of six years after the first act already shot. Avatar 4 will also bring us back to Earth, as the majority of the plot will not take place on Pandora.
Avatar: The Waterway will be released in theaters in December 2022.