(CNN)James Cameron has water on the brain.
Not literally, just his love for the ocean.
It's evident in his forthcoming film, "Avatar: The Way of Water," the sequel to his Oscar-winning hit 2009 film.
Cameron spoke to CNN's Jason Carroll about how the movie, which will debut in theaters in December, is different from the original.
"I think it's very emotional," Cameron said of the sequel. "I think it's more emotional than the first film. I think it focuses more on character and relationship dynamics than the first film did, but it definitely delivers on the spectacle."
"Avatar" is being rereleased in theaters Friday, and Cameron said he was excited for it.
"There's a whole generation that have only been able to see it on streaming, or blue ray if people even still do that, so it was exciting prospect to get people back into the theater," Cameron said. "And now its more timely then ever because theaters have taken such a beating over the last couple of years."
He is, of course, referring to the way movie theaters have struggled during the pandemic.
"Avatar" is the highest grossing film of all time, having raked in more than $2.8 billion at the box office. Entertainment industry observers are watching closely to see if Cameron's sequel can draw people back to Pandora -- and into theaters -- once again.
"We've banked a lot on this idea of a franchise or a saga that plays out over multiple films and the film itself is very expensive to make. And so while we may make a lot of money, we may not be profitable and you don't do something that's not profitable for very long," Cameron said.
The new film is inspired by the director's fascination with ocean life.
"I love the oceans," he said. "I've been passionate about the ocean before I even met an ocean. I learned to scuba dive in rural Canada."
The actors in "Avatar: The Way of Water" had to adapt to acting underwater and he said that after training, stars Kate Winslet and Sigourney Weaver were able to hold their breath for up to six or seven minutes.
Revisiting the fictional Na'vi in a new story has been a thrill for Cameron, even as he continues to celebrate the first film.
"'Avatar' was a unique beast at its time because it set out to create a world and then you live within that world," he said. "We never backed off the throttle the whole time."