$8 million submarine or $300 million movie? James Cameron chose pre-production on the Avatar sequels over a return to the deepest known point on Earth in his Deepsea Challenger submersible (seen below).
On June 1, Cameron launched the one-man sub on a cross-country journey from Los Angeles to Massachusetts. For the Challenger’s first public display, it will be travel from the California Science Center to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts. Donated by Cameron, the Challenger will find a new resting home at the WHOI.
Cameron decided to donate his sub, in which he’s piloted a number of record-setting dives, because he did not want the machine to collect dust as he sets out to make his Avatar sequels. The plan is that the WHOI will be able to incorporate the sub’s numerous engineering advancements into future research platforms and deep-sea expeditions. And while it is unlikely that the Challenger will dive again, audiences will be able to see it in action in Cameron’s upcoming documentary Deepsea Challenge 3D. This will be the director’s third underwater 3D documentary, and it will feature the first high resolution 3D images ever taken of the Marina trench location, the deepest point on the ocean floor.
In an interview with MTV News, Zoe Saldana (star of Avatar and Star Trek) told an interviewer now that Cameron has moved on from the Challenger, he will be able to make the final tweaks on his sequel scripts. Saldana, set to appear in the sequels, has also recently confirmed a planned early 2014 start date for the filming of the Avatar 2 and 3.