James Cameron said in an interview with Time Magazine that he shared an understanding of the infamous Marvel villain Thanos’s plan to eliminate half of the universe to preserve resources.
In the movie Avengers: Infinity War, long-term environmental and resource sustainability motivate Thanos’ decision to eradicate half of the universe’s population. Immediately after the movie premiered, some criticized it for negatively portraying environmentalists and those concerned about overpopulation.
Nevertheless, in an interview for the Time 100 Leadership Series, Cameron shared his sympathy for the Mad Titan’s goal.
co-wrote a new piece w my partner Vivian comparing James Cameron and Hayao Miyazaki as auteurs who care about the environment but who also love making big war machines go boom: https://t.co/DemFgvZnXr
— Yussef Cole (@youmeyou) January 30, 2023
“I can relate to Thanos,” Cameron told Time, “I thought he had a pretty viable answer. The problem is nobody is going to put up their hand to volunteer to be the half that has to go.”
Environmental preservation remains one of the most salient themes in Cameron’s Avatar franchise. Its plot revolves around a race of aliens battling against humans invading their planet for resources. In a reversal of classic tropes, the aliens are the heroic protagonists and the humans are the malevolent invaders. The film showcases reverence and connection with nature as positive themes.
According to Cameron’s interview with Time, Fox asked him to eliminate the “tree hugging” out of fear it would hurt the film’s box office performance. Cameron did not buckle to the requests, and the movie earned nearly $3 billion at the box office. Since the release of the Avatar franchise’s first installment in 2009, Cameron has produced several documentaries on the ocean and advocated for preservation of the Amazon Rainforest.