Avatar is a 2009 American epic science fiction motion capture film written and directed byJames Cameron, and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore, Giovanni Ribisi and Sigourney Weaver. The film is set in the mid-22nd century, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi—a humanoidspecies indigenous to Pandora. The film's title refers to the genetically engineered Na'vi-human hybrid bodies used by a team of researchers to interact with the natives of Pandora.
Development of Avatar began in 1994, when Cameron wrote an 80-page scriptment for the film. Filming was supposed to take place after the completion of Cameron's 1997 filmTitanic, for a planned release in 1999, but according to Cameron, the necessary technology was not yet available to achieve his vision of the film.