James Cameron Insists He Didn’t Steal ‘Avatar’ Concept, Wants Lawsuits Dropped

Movie alchemist James Cameron (who turns film-stock into box-office gold, if you didn’t get my meaning) has been under fire since late last year for allegedly stealing the concept for Avatar from a former employee. Cameron has fired back, denying that he stole the idea, and insisting that his work is completely different from that of his accuser.

The history: James Cameron was accused of idea-theft by a man named Eric Ryder, who said that Avatar is way too similar to his 1997 idea for an “environmentally themed 3-D epic about a corporation’s colonization and plundering of a distant moon’s lush and wondrous natural setting.” Yeah, that does indeed sound like Avatar. Ryder also said that his film, titled KRZ 2068, included “self-contained robotic exterior suits which house a single human operator,” and a character intended for portrayal by Sigourney Weaver. Alright, still sounds like Avatar. And Aliens, I suppose.

According to Ryder, he pitched the idea to Cameron’s company in 1999, and the producers were apparently ga-ga over the concept. They shut it down in 2002, telling Ryder that no one would go see a movie like that. Then, when everyone went to see that movie when it was released in 2009, Ryder was furious.

Then there was sci-fi writer Bryant Moore, who claimed that Cameron riffed the plot for Avatar from his own screenplays “Aquatica” and “Descendants: The Pollination.” He sued as well, and was asking for $2 billion, (which is the entire Avatar box-office war-chest, mind you).

Moore says in the suit that Cameron riffed ideas for Pandora’s “bioluminescent flora/plant life,” and “unbreathable atmospheres,” in addition to themes of “matriarch support of hero vs. heroine, and spiritual connections to environment, and reincarnation,” even environmental aesthetics like “mist.”

Cameron wants the lawsuit thrown out, according to TMZ. He says the Na’vi are nothing like the Gavadeen Alliance or the Pollinators from Moore’s plot, and that both films are completely different from beginning to end.

Of course, Cameron still hasn’t addressed the popular criticism that:

James Cameron stole the idea for avatar from ferngully.

— Dylan Loomer (@djlooms) June 12, 2012

Also, Pocahontas.

What do you think? Did James Cameron steal the concept for Avatar from any of the properties he’s accused of?