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Aliens vs. Predator Requiem Retrospective, A Chat with Liam O’Donnell – AvPGalaxy Podcast #60

We have just uploaded the 60th episode of the Alien vs. Predator Galaxy Podcast (right-click and save as to download)!

This Christmas marks the 10th anniversary of Aliens vs. Predator Requiem. Opinions on the film aside, AvP Requiem was an important film for this community as it saw an explosion in activity. The directors were posting on our forums and we had direct interaction with the people who were making the film. One other such person working on the film and posting on the forums was the mysterious man known as Crom.

After much detective work, we unveiled the identity of Crom as none other than Liam O’Donnell, the man behind the upcoming Beyond Skyline which has been receiving some pretty good reviews! It took some arm twisting but we eventually got him to agree to join us on the last episode of 2017 for a chat about his time working on Aliens vs. Predator Requiem!

 Aliens vs. Predator Requiem Retrospective, A Chat with Liam O'Donnell - AvPGalaxy Podcast #60

Credited as a visual effects creative consultant, Liam did a lot of uncredited work with the Brothers Strause, seeing the film go from pitch to release. Liam talks frankly about his time on the film, detailing some of the challenges they faced working on the film, dealing with a narrative they knew wasn’t what the fans really want, his fondness for Wolf, that infamous scene during the sewers, his work on the Skyline franchise, his treatment for Aliens vs. Predator 3 and plenty more!

What did you think of our latest episode? Be sure to let us know down below! You can also listen to any of our previous episodes in the Podcast section under the News tab on the main menu. The Alien vs. Predator Galaxy Podcast is also available via iTunes, PodBean and Stitcher.

Keep a close eye on Alien vs. Predator Galaxy for the latest on Alien and Predator! You can follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to get the latest on your social media walls. You can also join in with fellow Alien and Predator fans on our forums!



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Comments: 34
  1. SM
    I did.  I listened to the ADF one too and that also showed a lot of research with you and Shevvy.

    Those are the only two I've listened since my editing days and they're a big improvement.  Much more focused and informed.
  2. Corporal Hicks
    As someone who has ragged on AvP:R, this podcast made me want to go watch it again (for reasons other than research).  In the vitriol heaped on pieces of art, it's easy to forget that there are real people working extremely hard to make it.  And they're not blind to the faults, and we're not aware of the restrictions they have to work under.  And of course the Strauses aren't going to blame all the problems of AvP:R on Fox - if they want to continue their careers.

    Similar to the interview with Marc Cerasini, this podcast should be called 'Perspective'.  I don't think reviewing AvP:R will make me think it's a good flick, but after some of the things he talked about, I want to have another look.  I already had another look at the striker scenes to see if there was any trace left of Kendra and Curtis.  ;D

    It really is easy to forget about the people working on the film. It's so easy to just think of the director or writer as the spearheads.

    Quote
    I was aware of Crom during his time here, but my dealings with him were limited.  He seemed pretty cool which is understatement after listening to this.  I really hope Beyond Skyline does well for him.

    Me too. While there were aspects of the original Skyline I liked, over all I wasn't a massive fan. However, all the reviews for Beyond have me really interested. I wanted to catch it in the cinema but didn't find a showing over here. I have ordered the Blu-ray, though. Liam was a really great guest and I'm so pleased this one all came together like it did.

    Quote
    And on top of that it really helped that Hicks and Ridgetop had done their homework in watching the film again and reviewing the script.  Sure beats the days when I used to cut the podcast and I'd be shouting in futility at the computer when someone can't remember some bit of information.  ;)

    I remember the comic episodes where you had to insert an "editors note" for a comic I couldn't remember the title of.  :laugh: I'd like to think we've come a long way over the years since you edited these and we recorded sporadically. Always make sure we do plenty of research. Unfortunately, I'm always going to be shit with remembering names and titles. Just something I'm awful at. I'm pretty proud of the last couple of years worth of episodes.

    Glad you seemed to have enjoyed it.  :)
  3. SM
    As someone who has ragged on AvP:R, this podcast made me want to go watch it again (for reasons other than research).  In the vitriol heaped on pieces of art, it's easy to forget that there are real people working extremely hard to make it.  And they're not blind to the faults, and we're not aware of the restrictions they have to work under.  And of course the Strauses aren't going to blame all the problems of AvP:R on Fox - if they want to continue their careers.

    Similar to the interview with Marc Cerasini, this podcast should be called 'Perspective'.  I don't think reviewing AvP:R will make me think it's a good flick, but after some of the things he talked about, I want to have another look.  I already had another look at the striker scenes to see if there was any trace left of Kendra and Curtis.  ;D

    I was aware of Crom during his time here, but my dealings with him were limited.  He seemed pretty cool which is understatement after listening to this.  I really hope Beyond Skyline does well for him.

    And on top of that it really helped that Hicks and Ridgetop had done their homework in watching the film again and reviewing the script.  Sure beats the days when I used to cut the podcast and I'd be shouting in futility at the computer when someone can't remember some bit of information.  ;)
  4. SizzyBubbles
    I really enjoyed listening to this podcast. I feel like so little is known about the production of this film as it’s not very popular... it was really cool to hear all these behind the scenes tid-bits! I am so informed!
  5. Kailem
    Just had a listen, that was very interesting stuff! I too am always a fan of hearing from people who actually worked on the films. Any little nugget of new information is like gold, and it's especially cool to hear the reasoning behind how certain things turned out or about things we never got to see.

    I actually really liked Liam's pitch for AVP3. At first when he said he'd imagined it taking place in Africa I thought "isn't that a little on-the-nose for a Predator film?", but when he actually explained it in more detail towards the end there I thought it was great! It could have given us a really great bridge between the world as it exists today and the corporate-driven future world of Alien. It sounded like it could have had some of that really great world building that we got in the first two Alien films if it was done right, and expanded the universe in a cool way. Alas, what could have been.....

    I never actually had a problem with the overall premise for AVPR. I certainly had issues with how it was ultimately handled, but I don't think the fact that it wasn't set in the future and/or in space meant it was impossible to tell a good AVP tale. Honestly I preferred the setting here to that of the first AVP. Granted I think an AVP set in the future is still what we all want to see, but that sounds like a really cool idea for a third one, if it were once again to be set on Earth.

    And it's funny to hear first-hand from someone who was there about the execs at Fox wanting the Predalien to cloak. I get their whole thing of wanting audience to see something they haven't seen before (they are; the Predalien!), but it still has to, y'know, make sense. :laugh: And that would have been crazy if they'd actually gotten Bill Paxton to play the chef. Funny for sure and kinda cool, but it definitely would have taken you right out of the movie like you say.

    I kinda feel bad for the Strauses after listening to this, it sounds like they got hamstrung with a bunch of stuff they didn't really want to do and on top of all that they barely got to shoot any of the actual Alien or Predator scenes themselves. I can only imagine how disappointed I'd be if I'd gotten the chance to direct an AVP film and then had someone else do the majority of the actual AVP stuff. I guess that's part of why Guillermo del Toro never has a second unit. :D

    Great works guys, this was a very cool listen indeed!
  6. Huggs
    "Considering how laughably watered down AvP was, they really didn't have to go as stupid as they did. "

    I see where you're coming from here. It was definitely an apology wrapped in a lot of gooey red stuff. I just happened to like the gooey red stuff. So I was cool with it. And absolutely, AVP1 was like the GhostRider of the AVP movies. It was so watered down I half expected little flags that said "bang" to pop out of the guns.
  7. Huggs
    "I found killing children and pregnant women to be more juvenile than grown up"

    I do see your point. I merely meant the violent content was more mature than AVP1. Which, in my opinion, was a necessary and welcome change. That being said, I don't see the xenomorphs as being a very merciful bunch. Unleashing them and a Predalien inside a hospital can result in this sort of thing.
  8. Huggs
    "AVP bores me because it clearly doesn't care about the characters, and the one fight scene between the titular monsters isn't really what it could have been".

    This is true. The characters and their development in the first film were just terrible. B-movie quality for certain. As for the creatures, Net-head was a force to be reckoned with in AVP1. Then after they tagged, there came Wolf in AVPR to pretty much destroy everything and everyone. While the fights between the creatures exclusively weren't nearly as good as they could be, the sewer fight and the predator fight inside the hospital were short, but solid efforts.

    "AVPR bores me because the movie just seems to be moving from scene-to-scene with no real point other than gore, gore, gore, gore. "

    I'll admit, this is exactly why I love AVPR. When you think about it, it's hard to imagine these two species running wild in a town without massive and constant carnage. The aliens biology will have them host-hunting incessantly, and Wolf is in full blow "fix-it-felix mode" here. The film has some genuinely scary moments in the midst of serious carnage too. The scene where wolf is spotted by the police officer in the woods, his eyes shining in the dark, it really felt like an old school Predator moment. But, when the guard rolled into town and was engaged by the Aliens, I was honestly grinning from ear to ear. It was probably the closest we've come to anything resembling Cameron's Aliens since 1986. The journey through the hospital, the predator fight inside the hospital, the human fight through the hospital, the power plant scene, I think AVPR actually brought quite a bit to the table. Heck-fire, it even worked Yutani into the plot before it closed.

    AVPR might not have been perfect, but it had guts, in every sense of the saying. It was a more grown up approach to the subject matter, and it felt like there was an affection for the creatures there (on behalf of the directors) that wasn't present in the first film. I think the brothers really gave a dang, and aside from ditching the migraine inducing darkness from AVPR, I wouldn't hesitate to give them a shot at AVP3, should Disney allow another "R" rated AVP. That may well depend on the success of Predator 2018.
  9. OpenMaw
    The idea that AvP would be better if it simply had a gunfight is exactly the kind of thinking that got us crap like AvPR to start with :D

    The failing of a lot of action writing is having action for it's own sake. If the action doesn't derive from the story, plot, theme, it serves no purpose other than pure gratuity. Which, honestly, movies that take that route become immensely boring.

    AVP bores me because it clearly doesn't care about the characters, and the one fight scene between the titular monsters isn't really what it could have been. AVPR bores me because the movie just seems to be moving from scene-to-scene with no real point other than gore, gore, gore, gore. It's honestly boring as Hell to watch AVPR.

    Aliens, and Predator, are both still very entertaining films because they deliver from every standpoint.

    I've always wondered what the first AVP might have been like if a few changes had been made:
    1. Bring the run time to about 90 minutes.
    2. Shrink the size of the expedition to a dozen people.
    3. Only have one Alien and one Predator. Basically stretch that confrontation between Celtic and Grid across the 3rd act. The film structure would have the Predator stalking the humans in the beginning, then the alien stalking the humans in the middle, and then the collision and cat and mouse taking up the finale.
  10. OpenMaw

    Definitely. If Disney chooses to consider additional AVP films (which I believe is a possibility) I hope the human characters are given some capabilities. Gracious, we all saw what Vasquez did to that Alien's head with her 10mm (9mm technically) in Aliens 1986. It should be possible for people to fight back decently, and there's nothing I love more than a good "last stand" moment.

    https://www.avpgalaxy.net/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1068.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fu446%2Fopenmaw%2F0_7fd0d_6b9fa349_XXL_zps6yhfqgbe.jpg&hash=75cc862c59ba45fcd10e473e263c399d


    That final section of the comic, when they're basically just in a mad dash scramble surrounded by chaos would have rivaled Aliens for pure adrenaline, and unlike AvP 2004. Prey, and the comic, do a much better job of giving us a believable team up. The team up, also, serves to give the Aliens a much bigger sense of danger. They're like(much like in Aliens) a tidal wave that's going to come and wipe you out, and there's nothing you can do but just keep moving.
  11. Huggs
    "I think AVP (2004) would've been better recieved with a human vs ALIEN gunfight."

    Definitely. If Disney chooses to consider additional AVP films (which I believe is a possibility) I hope the human characters are given some capabilities. Gracious, we all saw what Vasquez did to that Alien's head with her 10mm (9mm technically) in Aliens 1986. It should be possible for people to fight back decently, and there's nothing I love more than a good "last stand" moment.

    Frankly, that's why I wished they'd have gone the way of the first book. A large group of humans having to barricade themselves inside a complex and fight it out with both species. Still a thrilling read to this day. A film adaption of that novel would be exquisite. I'd love to see what revolver they'd choose for Machiko, the Ruger Alaskan is a good one (yeah I'm biased). 44 Mag, 454 Casull, or .480, that's some big boom-boom.
  12. Hellspawn28
    I was 16 in High School when AVPR came out. I can never forget how foolish I was when I first like the movie. Me being a teenager at the time, I had too much hype in my eyes to know how bad the movie was. It was not until when the movie came out on DVD in 2008 when I feel like the movie was really bad.

    Strange to think that I was a member on this forums for a whole decade. Most forums that I have been on, I normally don't come back after many years.
  13. AVP-CAPCOM
    I agree. Guilty Pleasure is about the right way to put it. It was a bold departure from the first film, and gave me exactly what I wanted at the time. Predators and Aliens destroying each other in "R-rated" fashion with armed humans caught in the crossfire. I hope we get more AVP films in the future, hopefully one set in space. Perhaps now that Disney will be in charge, that dream may someday become a reality.

    Yes the fact humans were actually hitting and exploding ALIENS with guns for the first time since ALIENS 1986. I cannot believe, even today, that of the eight (yes eight) ALIEN movies that only TWO movies have believeable sci-fi action elements of the power of high powered fire-arms. As Arnold/Dutch would say in PREDATOR "if it bleeds we can kill it", well ALIENS have acid blood so go figure where I stand..........
    ALIEN- Resurrection, first AVP (2004) ALIEN-COVENANT all had humans with guns but none could hit a barn door and ended up posing instead. I think AVP (2004) would've been better recieved with a human vs ALIEN gunfight.
    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=alien.htm

    Disney does indeed take higher risks with budgets, imagination and extended Universes. Disneyland almost had an ALIEN (yes Ridley Scott ALIEN) themepark ride as below.

    The above is what put Ridley Scott off making ALIEN movies and was the inspiration behind his "you can't put him in a glass box on display, that makes him neutered.......the beast is cooked" quote.
    I really hope Scott Free productions gets pissed off with Disney so they hand the reins to someone who gets on with making movies rather than taking 5 years at a time to put out lukewarm releases.

    Also re- BEYOND SKYLINE there is/are phyiscal home release DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on January 8th 2018 (almost 10 years to the AVP-R anniversary).

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_nr_n_0?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A283926%2Ck%3Abeyond+skyline&keywords=beyond+skyline&ie=UTF8&qid=1513505579&rnid=1642204031


  14. necrotard
    I’ve spoken with Dan Zimmerman before and what he told me contradicts some of the things in this interview.
    He said that what was shot was crazy dark already to the point that one of the Fox execs got really angry and ordered the footage be brightened.  According to him, what we see is actually better than what they got.
    He also said the stuff with the kids was rushed and not good
    The well-colored trailers seem to contradict that though.
  15. Huggs
    "Personally January 2008 was a great month for sci-fi with this sandwiched between "I AM LEGEND- Will Smith" and Cloverfield."

    So true. I was in college at the time and still remember using the PC's before classes to get on youtube and watch leaked scenes from AVPR and Cloverfield. Ah to be young, and to have Aliens, Predators, and  monster movies playing in the theaters. It was heaven.


    "I actually like AVP-R and I probably have seen it more than any other ALIEN or PREDATOR film. Its a mixture of guilty pleasure but also some genuinely good film-making."

    I agree. Guilty Pleasure is about the right way to put it. It was a bold departure from the first film, and gave me exactly what I wanted at the time. Predators and Aliens destroying each other in "R-rated" fashion with armed humans caught in the crossfire. I hope we get more AVP films in the future, hopefully one set in space. Perhaps now that Disney will be in charge, that dream may someday become a reality.

    Funny thing, people always complain about how dark AVPR is. The dvd version is indeed horrible. However, my Blu-ray copy is fine. Everything is perfectly visible with zero eye strain, even with the cinema mode and power saver running. I was pleasantly shocked. Is the darkness still an issue with the blu-rays for anyone else?
  16. Predalien39
    I’ve spoken with Dan Zimmerman before and what he told me contradicts some of the things in this interview.
    He said that what was shot was crazy dark already to the point that one of the Fox execs got really angry and ordered the footage be brightened.  According to him, what we see is actually better than what they got.
    He also said the stuff with the kids was rushed and not good
  17. Corporal Hicks
    That treatment for avp3 is so close to one I created it’s scary!! Man that’s weird. Mine ended up with space jockeys coming in at the end and was kind of a Star Wars-esque space battle at the end, along with 2 protags battling a space jockey in the pilot chamber at the end. Even had some sweet Space jockey creature designs which were suuuper creepy. Got the design from a Nightmare I had. Maybe I’ll turn it into a comic...

    I will have a more detailed write-up of that treatment up at some point. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

    10 years just goes by so fast.

    It's hard to think. I can still remember all the time prowling the internet looking for details, all the time I spent on that trivia games on the official website. I had so many of those posters.  :laugh: It was such a fun time.

    Quote
    I very much enjoyed this conversation and learning a bit more about what went on in development. AVPR really was the horror/sci-fi film that resonated with me at the time, and while I've seen more of its flaws since then, the positive feelings around the film stuck. And all things considered... it could've been a lot worse.

    It was easily one of my favorite interviews that we've ever done. Opinions of the films themselves aside, I appreciate learning more about the experience the people working on the films had and I think Liam offered some really interesting insights into AvPR's production.

    Things like their insecurity around the plot leading to them putting more homages in. That kind of thing fascinates me.

    Quote
    Glad to hear Beyond Skyline is getting a lot more love than its predecessor. I'm excited to check it out this weekend.

    I'm really interested in seeing it after reading the positive reviews. I'm hoping I'll find a showing somewhere nearby.

    I'm really glad this podcast turned out as good as it did. I know I personally had aspirations to get Colin back but whether or not he would have done it or not is another story. Lucky that Liam contacted just as we were looking for somebody. Instead of the typical roundtable discussion, it was nice to hear from someone who worked on the movie post-release. There's a lot of nuggets in there we need to add to our Trivia page.

    It was incredibly fortuitous. Liam was incredibely honest and I think that made for some really interesting responses. There's definitely plenty of interesting trivia in there! RidgeTop mentioned it after recording but I do wish we'd have asked if Liam had known about any other R words they explored for the title.

    Quote
    It's a shame the Kendra stuff never made it to the DVD. I did hear from Colin that was like a whole second day of the film that had been totally cut out. It was me who told you about the west and east coast stuff. Colin told me Fox refused to show them the DVD masters and it turned out to be way darker than it was supposed to be.

    I would certainly buy another release if they sorted out the colour grading and put all the deleted scenes back in.

    Thanks for the kind words guys.
  18. AVP-CAPCOM
    Brilliant interview with Liam O Donnell. I'd heard he did a "surprisingly good trailer for a follow-up to the lambasted SKYLINE, with SKYLINE 2- BEYOND SKYLINE".

    The fact the Brother's Strauss were attached to SKYLINE made me want to see it more. No seriously I think the "micro-budget" approach made me watch SKYLINE and avoid the bloated "Battle Los Angeles".
    SKYLINE is actually a very decent movie but has a lot of dodgy unintentional LOL moments which merited it a 101 things I learned watching SKYLINE on IMDB- before liberal censorship of anything funny (sorry I meant "trolling" that offended snowflakes).

    No need for apologies I actually like AVP-R and I probably have seen it more than any other ALIEN or PREDATOR film. Its a mixture of guilty pleasure but also some genuinely good film-making, stunt-work and practical suit effects from Tom Woodruff.
    I also felt the cast was good despite an odd "stiff script" and its still watchable. Kristen Hager as Jesse was hot and Steven Pasquale, John Ortiz and Johnny Lewis were functional.
    Also the Brother's Strauss have made, and continue to make, sleek CGI effects for some "critically accepted" Marvel movies.

    The film AVP-R didn't get a UK cinema release until January 18th 2008. January is a dumping ground for films the studio think don't deserve a prime release- hence "redllettermedia.com" mockingly calling it "f**k you january".
    Personally January 2008 was a great month for sci-fi with this sandwiched between "I AM LEGEND- Will Smith" and Cloverfield.

    I wish they had somehow made the exact same movie BUT managed to set it on a futuristic off-world colony trying to make "the power plant" an atmosphere processor and the Forest an extraterrestrial boundary.
    Other than that all other elements the same with the Maternity Ward being a "med-lab", Pizza guy working the blue-collar colony Bar job for powerloader operators and the sewers being the "atmosphere cooling and airvents" .
    The hospital rooftop climax would be a dropship landing pad via the Xenomorph nest- so on and so fourth.
    I get the budget constraints but wish they somehow got creative and an extra $10 million for sets.

    Still AVP-R is a solid 3/5 movie for me; 5/5 for fun-factor and nostalgia. Plus 2008 was a great year prior to the events of the 2009 recession etc.
  19. Perfect-Organism
    Great podcast as always Guys.  This one was so good it should be included in the next reissue of AVPR on blu-ray if it ever happens.  It really adds value.  ...and yes they need to add a lot of the deleted footage and brighten things up to give it a chance of success...
  20. Darkness
    I'm really glad this podcast turned out as good as it did. I know I personally had aspirations to get Colin back but whether or not he would have done it or not is another story. Lucky that Liam contacted just as we were looking for somebody. Instead of the typical roundtable discussion, it was nice to hear from someone who worked on the movie post-release. There's a lot of nuggets in there we need to add to our Trivia page.

    It's a shame the Kendra stuff never made it to the DVD. I did hear from Colin that was like a whole second day of the film that had been totally cut out. It was me who told you about the west and east coast stuff. Colin told me Fox refused to show them the DVD masters and it turned out to be way darker than it was supposed to be.

    Say what you want about the Strauses, I do feel sorry for them.
  21. Xiggz456
    @RidgeTop haha it’s an extremely boring town but the mountains are absolutely stunning. I’d recommend visiting at least once if you’re only a state away. I’m from Denver and it’s about a 3 to 4 hour drive to Gunnison depending on conditions so it is a tad bit out of the way but always good scenic camping. There’s also a few ski resorts if you’re into that.
  22. RidgeTop
    10 years just goes by so fast.

    I very much enjoyed this conversation and learning a bit more about what went on in development. AVPR really was the horror/sci-fi film that resonated with me at the time, and while I've seen more of its flaws since then, the positive feelings around the film stuck. And all things considered... it could've been a lot worse.

    Glad to hear Beyond Skyline is getting a lot more love than its predecessor. I'm excited to check it out this weekend.

    Great podcast guys! Certainly had me chuckling throughout. Recently rewatched both AVP movies as I finally purchased them on Blu-ray and watching them without my initial high expectations does make them somewhat more enjoyable. However being from Colorado (and having a friend who went to college in Gunnison when this film came out) I have to suspend my disbelief to an absurd degree, especially when the town gets nuked. But at the same time I always get a kick out of it whenever I go camping down in Gunnison. Fun fact: the next town over from Gunnison is Crested Butte (also mentioned in the film) and James Cameron owns a cabin there. The citizens of Crested Butte have had a long history of fighting and trying to preserve their mountain town from big mining corporations and the mayor of the town who led this fight was a paraplegic. So although Cameron has never admitted this, many locals believe that the history of Crested Butte is the inspiration behind Avatar.

    Some years back I took a road trip to Colorado (my neighboring state) through Vail and onto Denver. I must admit I was tempted to make a detour to stop in Gunnison.
  23. Hyperdyne120-a2
    That treatment for avp3 is so close to one I created it’s scary!! Man that’s weird. Mine ended up with space jockeys coming in at the end and was kind of a Star Wars-esque space battle at the end, along with 2 protags battling a space jockey in the pilot chamber at the end. Even had some sweet Space jockey creature designs which were suuuper creepy. Got the design from a Nightmare I had. Maybe I’ll turn it into a comic...
  24. Xiggz456
    Great podcast guys! Certainly had me chuckling throughout. Recently rewatched both AVP movies as I finally purchased them on Blu-ray and watching them without my initial high expectations does make them somewhat more enjoyable. However being from Colorado (and having a friend who went to college in Gunnison when this film came out) I have to suspend my disbelief to an absurd degree, especially when the town gets nuked. But at the same time I always get a kick out of it whenever I go camping down in Gunnison. Fun fact: the next town over from Gunnison is Crested Butte (also mentioned in the film) and James Cameron owns a cabin there. The citizens of Crested Butte have had a long history of fighting and trying to preserve their mountain town from big mining corporations and the mayor of the town who led this fight was a paraplegic. So although Cameron has never admitted this, many locals believe that the history of Crested Butte is the inspiration behind Avatar.
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