Jon Landau, Avatar Producer, Dead at 63

Shocking and tragic news today, as Landau was Cameron's right-hand man and played an indispensable role in the making of the films as well as the larger Avatar storytelling sphere. For those keen on behind-the-scenes material you'll know through his interviews and the interviews of other cast and crew just how involved, able, and enthusiastic Jon was about Pandora and his work as a producer.

I hope he passed peacefully and with the comfort of friends and family beside him.

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So sad to see this, s sorry for his kin, friends and everyone he worked with. he's left a truly wonderful legacy behind, but he will absolutely be missed. I saw a lot of his interviews and seemed a great guy, and he's left big shoes to fill, for sure. You did good, my friend.
On the behind the scenes front, I enjoyed not only what he had to say on the films but also the little crew interview/bios he shared on Instagram.

Someone who I'm especially feeling for now is one of his kids, Jamie Landau. Not only did Jamie lose his dad, but as a member of the Troupe for the films he's lost a little more on top of that. This isn't to say that others in the family, among friends, or in the very large professional sphere that Landau seems to have kept aren't also grieving, but that personal/professional crossover has gotta be a stinger.
Sad to read the news. Rest in peace, friend.

It was clear to me from the various interviews that he was a very dedicated and involved producer and that is not always a given for a movie franchise.

Let me share one of his quotes that I remembered most:

"Each Avatar film is an exciting but epic undertaking that takes time to bring to the quality level we as filmmakers strive for and audiences have come to expect. The team is hard at work and can’t wait to bring audiences back to Pandora in December 2025."

It is sad knowing that he won't be there to bring the audience back to Pandora next year.
I was very sad to hear this. Came across an article with Cameron and co.

James Cameron, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Zoe Saldaña, Alan Bergman, Peter Jackson and Avatar: The Way of Water cast and crewmembers are among those in Hollywood paying tribute to Jon Landau, who died Friday at 63.

Landau was an Oscar-winning producer, most known for his collaborations with Cameron on blockbuster films including Titanic and the Avatar franchise. His other credits include Alita: Battle Angel, Solaris and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Cameron remembered his longtime friend in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, writing, “A great producer and a great human being has left us. Jon Landau believed in the dream of cinema. He believed that film is the ultimate human art form, and to make films you have to first be human yourself. He will be remembered as much for his vast generosity of spirit as for the movies themselves.”
“I worked with Jon Landau for 31 years and I never saw him downcast once,” the filmmaker added. “He led with a balance of humor and fierce will, and true joy in the work. When I met him, he was the studio ‘suit’ assigned to oversee True Lies in ’93. In the midst of the logistical nightmare of that production we came to respect and enjoy each other. A bond forged in fire. I lured him away from Fox to join my production company, Lightstorm and together we then tackled Titanic, a production as ambitious and seemingly ill-fated as the ship itself. Jon bore the brunt of the studio pressure and gave his all to provide the time and resources for me to make the film I saw in my head. From that we became brothers in arms. We believed we could solve any production problem. The next mountain we climbed was Avatar, a production that more resembled the Manhattan Project… making up new physics as we went along. Mastering a brand new methodology to tell stories. Again Jon gave his all, and never lost faith that we were doing something extraordinary and that we would somehow prevail. In the process we not only made a film, we forged a family. Jon was the heart of the Avatar family, with his humor, generosity and enormous capacity to make people feel valued and ‘seen.’ He gave everyone a sense of purpose and belonging. And this continued through the making of the sequels. It is impossible to convey how much our tight knit group will miss this man, this force of nature… the center of gravity of our little bubble universe. Jon created a community, a family, on Avatar and at Lightstorm, but not at the expense of his own family, who were always his highest priority.”

Cameron continued in his heartfelt tribute, “Jon was my right hand and I was his. In recent years we became a trapeze act… total interdependence, total trust, total synchronization. We became not only the closest of working partners, but the closest of friends. My last message to him was not only that I loved him but that I missed our daily dialogue. We would talk twenty times a day, usually in his office which he placed strategically between mine and the set. Solving every problem that came along. Jon had the strength to tell me when I was wrong, and I learned over the years to trust that he was right. Jon loved his work, and loved the people around him, the amazing team he had built. Every day was joyful battle, against entropy — the chaos that threatens to unravel every human endeavor. The center always held, under Jon’s watchful eye. We fought through the pandemic together to deliver Avatar: The Way of Water. Together, we thought we could solve anything. But you can’t solve the fragility of life itself. I am grateful for every year, every day, every minute we had together. I am grateful for the belief he had in me and what his partnership allowed us to accomplish together. A part of myself has been torn away. But the amazing team he assembled and led still remains, and we will dedicate ourselves to fulfilling Jon’s legacy. Not just the films yet to come, but the love and connection that binds the Avatar and Lightstorm family together.”

DiCaprio, who starred in 1997’s Titanic, told The Hollywood Reporter Landau “was an incredibly kind, wise, and empathetic soul, who wanted to create nothing but a positive impact on anyone or anything approached. His legacy and leadership will live on forever. My condolences are with his entire family. Rest in peace; you will be deeply missed.”

Kate Winslet, who also starred in Titanic, told THR: “Jon Landau was the kindest and best of men. Having known him since I was 20 years old, I can honestly say that his passion for filmmaking only deepened with age. He was a man who was rich with compassion and exceptional at supporting and nurturing teams of phenomenal creative people. His strength in life was knowing the importance of family, at home and at work. He was always full of smiles and gratitude. I can’t believe I am writing this, can’t believe he is gone.”

Saldaña, who starred in 2009’s Avatar and 2022’s Avatar: The Way of Water, also wrote in a tribute on Instagram following the news of his death, “Words are hard to put together right now, your passing is hitting really hard. You are leaving us too soon, my thoughts are with you and your family right now. Your wisdom and support shaped so many of us in ways we will always be grateful for. The memories we shared together will always hold a special place in my heart. Your legacy will continue to inspire us and guide us in our journey. Rest in peace, dear Jon. You will be deeply missed.”

Sam Worthington, who starred alongside Saldaña in both Avatar films, said in a statement, “Jon was all heart. He made everything and everyone he touched feel they could be better. He led with humor and strength, compassion and kindness. The People say all energy is borrowed and someday you have to give it back. I see you, Jon.”