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James Cameron really did create the world of Avatar by himself, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge said today. The judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former Lightstorm employee claiming that he came up with the idea.
In December 2011, Eric Ryer, a science fiction fan, filed the lawsuit. He claimed that when he worked for Cameron’s Lightstorm in 1999, he created a story called K.R.Z. 2068, which had similar themes to Avatar and that he even suggested it be filmed in 3D. He said he was commissioned by Lightstorm to develop the idea and was seeking profits from the film.
Judge Susan Bryant-Deason ruled that Avatar did not share the same story as Ryder’s idea, even if there were some similarities, reports The Hollywood Reporter. “There is no evidence James Cameron did not create Avatar in 1996. This was obviously his biggest baby he's every produced from what I can tell,” she wrote.
This is actually just the latest plagiarism suit Cameron has won. As the highest-grossing film of all time, Avatar has created more suits than your average Hollywood hit. Earlier this year, a lawsuit filed by visual effects artist Gerald Morawski was dismissed as well, but THR notes that lawsuits filed by science fiction writer Bryant Moore in Maryland and William Roger Dean in New York are still alive.
“Sadly, it seems that whenever a successful motion picture is produced, there are people who try to ‘get rich quick’ by claiming their ideas were used,” Cameron said in a statement today, notes TheWrap. “ Several such claims have been asserted in connection with Avatar. I am grateful that our courts have consistently found these claims to be meritless. As I have previously stated, Avatar was my most personal film, drawing upon themes and concepts that I had been exploring for decades. I am very appreciative that the Court rejected the specious claim by Mr. Ryder that I used any of his ideas in my film.”
If that language sounds familiar, it should. Cameron said the exact same thing after Morawski's suit was dismissed.
Cameron is working on sequels to Avatar that will be released in 2016, 2017 and 2018.