Avatar: The Last Airbender series ‘had to change its name’ because of James Cameron’s Avatar

James Cameron has apparently always had big plans for his Avatar film series.

In fact, half a decade before Avatar’s 2009 debut – whereupon it became the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide, earning $2.9bn (£2.3bn) at the box office – he had already acquired the rights to its title.

As it turns out, Cameron’s forward thinking had ramifications for Nickelodeon’s hit animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

“In 2004 we learned that we had to change the name of our show from Avatar to Avatar: The Last Airbender because James Cameron already had the rights to a movie called Avatar,” series director Giancarlo Volpe revealed in a recent tweet.

“Now [Cameron’s] sequel is called The Way of Water. If part three is called The Firebending Masters we riot,” he quipped.

His tweet alludes to the significant role the element of water plays in the show, with water now serving as the cornerstone of Cameron’s forthcoming sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water.

The Independent has contacted Cameron’s representative for comment.

Although Cameron’s original Avatar premiered in 2009, he began developing it in 1994.

He had originally intended to direct it after his 1997 hit Titanic, but the motion capture technology he needed for the film didn’t advance as fast as he’d expected.

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So it wasn’t until 2006 that the movie officially got off the ground.

Now, 13 years later, its long-awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, is finally coming out in cinemas on 16 December.

On Tuesday (6 December), ahead of the film’s official release, members of the media were invited to its London premiere. On social media, critics have already lauded Cameron’s sequel as a “triumph”.

Their praise echoes that of Pinocchio director Guillermo del Toro, who hailed Cameron as “a master at the peak of his powers”, calling the sequel “a staggering achievement”.