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Thursday, a science fiction fan named Eric Ryder filed a lawsuit against James Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment, claiming that Cameron’s hit 2009 film Avatar was actually based on his idea.
Ryder, according to The Hollywood Reporter, claims in the lawsuit that in 1999, when he was an employee for Lightstorm, he developed a story called K.R.Z. 2068. Ryder says that he went as far as drawing sketches, creating 3D models and created treatments. In the complaint, which the Reporter published, Ryder says that his project was to be an “environmentally-themed 3-D epic about a corporation's colonization and plundering of a distant moon's lush and wondrous natural setting.”
E! News reports that Ryder waited so long to file the lawsuit because he had approached Lighstorm several times, but was ignored, which led him to finally take action.
Cameron, who has said that his idea originated in the 1990s and had to wait for technology to catch up with it, has been sued before for stealing the idea, but nothing has ever come from those lawsuits. However, this is the first lawsuit filed by a Lightstorm employee. Ryder actually alleges that Lightstorm turned his idea away in 2002 because, as he was told, no one would want to see an environmentally themed sci-fi film.
Of course, Avatar grossed $2.8 billion worldwide and Cameron has two sequels planned.