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Avatar: What role is Josh Friedman taking in the Avatar writing process?

Fans are weary of James Cameron's recruitment of Terminator writer

One of the most interesting pieces of news that we have heard about the 'Avatar' sequels is the fact that James Cameron has recruited a screenwriter to assist in the production of the remaining three movies in the 'Avatar' series. Josh Friedman, who formerly lead the writing team who worked on the 'Sarah Connor Chronicles', an Australian television series based on the 'Terminator' universe, with which Cameron is naturally associated, was drafted in a few months ago. So with the writing process reaching its culmination, what role has Friedman played, and what role will he play in the future?

The fact that Cameron decided to employ a screenwriter in the first place was actually far from welcomed by many 'Avatar' fans. It was felt that Cameron should be writing the screenplay on his own, given the quality of his work in the past. One can understand why people would feel this way; Cameron after all has written some of the best screenplays in the history of science-fiction, but the reasons for it seem quite clear to me.

With three 'Avatar' movies to be written, storyboarded, filmed, directed and produced pretty much all at once, this could quite easily be described as the most demanding and ambitious project in cinematic history. One struggles to bring to mind any examples of three movies being shot simultaneously, which is a big enough undertaking in itself. Of course, the stakes multiply rather rapidly when you're producing a follow-up to the most commercially successful movie in cinema history, and this is definitely going to be the most expensive shoot ever carried out. James Cameron may have a lot of cachet, but he's certainly risking something of his reputation by investing so much capital in this series.

In this context, drafting in a screenwriter to share some of the workload is simple common sense. Cameron may be one of the most hands-on directors one could ever hope to experience, but he can't do literally everything. Having slaved over the scripts, to have someone capable to come in and smooth them out into the final product makes perfect sense.

As an experienced sci-fi writer, Friedman is a good option for this role. The 'Sarah Connor Chronicles' was a well-received series, and it could be argued that it represented the best 'Terminator' material that has been released since Cameron himself was involved. Even a great writer like Cameron can benefit from the input of another, and I think Friedman's contribution could make the movie, not spoil it. Friedman's role would appear to be largely editorial, and I think this is a smart move from Cameron that will allow his wealth of ideas to be delivered on the big screen in punchier fashion.

Christopher Morris watches too many sci-fi films, has a fanatical interest in Philip K. Dick's work, and is a regular contributor to Yahoo on television, cinema, video games, technology and politics.

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