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Tech Noir, Aliens, Avatar, T2


James Cameron high-fives fans at an Alita event.

James Cameron high-fiving fans in 2019.
Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images (Getty Images)

As fans everywhere anxiously, nervously, and curiously await the trailer for James Cameron’s Avatar 2, we’ve got the next best thing. Sort of. It’s a trailer for Cameron’s new book, Tech Noir. And before you immediately write that off as lame, let us tell you what Tech Noir is: it’s a nearly 400-page hardcover collection of Cameron’s art going back to his childhood. In it, you can track his creative and professional development in almost a direct line, with stops along the way for The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic, Aliens, The Abyss, and, of course, Avatar.

It’s a seriously cool book and if you don’t believe us, well, let Cameron tell you himself in this exclusive trailer:

So as you can see there, this book has a little bit of everything. It even has some concept art from his unmade Spider-Man film (which we tried to get for this post but were told was not available for publication). Instead, we got a few new, exclusive pages that give you a good idea not just of Cameron’s development, but the cool stuff in the book.

First up are these two pages that show how Cameron, as a young child, was into sketching all kinds of monsters, aliens, and creatures. Immediately you see the talent as well as the love and respect for popular culture.

Image for article titled New James Cameron Trailer Alert! (It's for His Book, But Still Very Cool)

Image: Insight Editions

The book is called Tech Noir though, and there’s a lot of both in there. “Noir” for all the dark, mysterious images he made both for his own films and films of other filmmakers. And “tech” for all the cool technology Cameron just designed on his own. Our personal favorite? This early rendering of the unmistakable Pulse Rifle from his 1986 masterpiece, Aliens.

Image for article titled New James Cameron Trailer Alert! (It's for His Book, But Still Very Cool)

Image: Insight Editions

As you flip through the book, you see lots of designs, creatures, technology, and worlds that never made it to the big screen. But what those things did do is inspire and influence Cameron’s very own world of Avatar. Looking at the totality of his design work throughout his life, Avatar becomes so much clearer. Finally, he has this blank canvas, unbeholden to anything. Not to physics, reality, story, anything. Avatar is Cameron’s playground where all of his ideas can finally be brought to life.

Image for article titled New James Cameron Trailer Alert! (It's for His Book, But Still Very Cool)

Image: Insight Editions

If you’re interested in Tech Noir, you can pick up a copy here. Meanwhile, tell us about your favorite James Cameron film below.


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