You've probably heard by now of the new James Cameron movie Avatar and its massive opening weekend. But beyond the fact that they're both major sci-fi events, is there any deeper connection to the Star Wars Galaxy?
Well... Jedi Council veteran Vongchild got in touch with me the other day to point out that there are some... striking... similarities between the Na'Vi from Avatar and the backstory of the Yuuzhan Vong from the New Jedi Order novels. Tall, humanoid aliens with bluish skin and small noses, they originally lived in symbiosis with their homeworld, until a mechanized off-world invasion forced them to fight back... and turned them into conquerors.
If you squint, you could almost see them as a "distant prequel"...
I personally suspect that this parallel represents a combination of the zeitgeist and the monomyth - the ways that cultural patterns repeat themselves, in other words; but as the concept has made its way to TVtropes, I decided it was worth mentioning it here, for fun.
A very Happy New Year to all of you!!
UPDATE: Continuing on with the whole Star Wars/Avatar connection:
The Official Starwars.com Blog directs us to an article at CNet which highlights ILM's contribution to the Avatar effort. Check out the excerpt below but make sure to click here for the full read with explosive details from John Knoll.
"About a year ago, with James Cameron's science-fiction epic "Avatar" well under way, it became clear that Weta Digital, the visual effects studio doing much of the computer generated imagery, or CGI, on the project, was a bit in over its head.
At that point, the movie, which opened Friday, was about 40 minutes longer than it ended up being, and what was needed to finish the project was another company that could come in and lend a helping hand--and do so at the same, very high level, that Weta was working at.
And that's where Industrial Light & Magic came in, recalled John Knoll, the Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor tasked with parachuting in to help finish what was, more than on most films, the crucial job of crafting the "Avatar" CGI work.
What followed was months of coordination between ILM, Weta, and Cameron's production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, with a primary goal of ensuring that the two visual effects teams, one in San Francisco and the other in New Zealand, avoided any unnecessary duplication of effort, even as both sometimes found themselves working on effects for the same movie sequences.
For ILM, this wasn't the first time it had been called in to help aid another effects house, but it may well have been the first time it did so for one as big and as accomplished as Weta. To be sure, ILM's overall contribution to the finished film was minor compared to Weta's, but nonetheless critical in helping get the film to its final, finished state, Knoll suggested."
In addition, EW.com's PopWatch asks if Avatar is the new Star Wars while encouraging your responses.