Following years of anticipation, bucketloads of hype, several trailers and an entire day dedicated to screening chunks of it, James Cameron's latest is finally about to hit our screens.
Easily the most discussed film of the year, Avatar has been a long time coming, not least because Cameron first got the idea more than a decade ago.
He's had to wait all this time for technology to catch up to his vision of a strange alien world and the war for its precious resources, and has invented a lot of it to push everything from cameras to 3D techniques forward.
So it's the idea time to take a wander back through the long, strange trip that Jake Sully and co have taken to cinemas…
Cameron: From Literature To Cinema
To get to the root of Avatar's genesis, you have to go back. No, back even further than James Cameron's first stab at cranking the film's story out of his pulsing, imagination-stocked brain.
The young JC was a voracious reader, devouring SF literature like a story vacuum. "I spent all my free time in the town library and read an awful lot of science fiction. The line between fantasy and reality blurred," Cameron has said.
"I read so voraciously. It was tonnage. I rode a school bus for an hour each way in high school, so I had two hours a day on the bus and tried to read a book a day.
"I averaged a book every other day, but if I got really interested in something it was propped up behind my math book or my science book all during the day in class."
Eventually, that young, novel-obsessed child would grow up to be a slightly older, film-obsessed wannabe director who would get his cinematic start on B-movies before a fever dream about a killer robot helped launch him on a stellar career.
His love of science fiction would see him sign on to follow up Ridley Scott's groundbreaking Alien, to expose his love of all things submersible with The Abyss, and turn his Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger into a spy trying to juggle work with family life.
Avatar's origins go back even further than his work in the cinema. "This thing has been generating in fragments, for a long time, ever since the mid-‘70s, when I first started my hand at screenwriting.
“I was creating stories with spacecrafts and other worlds and some of these creatures actually are distant descendants through a long Darwinian process of the creatures that I was creating then.
“I wrote a script called Xeno Genesis in ‘76 or ‘77. It never got made (though Cameron did base a short film on it), but it had a bioluminescent force in it.
I don't even remember the transition point from being a fan, a reader of science fiction and an artist drawing spacecraft and aliens to actually putting them into scenes.”
It would all come into play when Cameron, looking to shove the boundaries of sci-fi filmmaking, punched out a "scriptment" - a blend of short script and premise treatment for a tale of humans exploring another world…
Next: The Legendary Scriptment