A former employee of James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment company has won a preliminary victory in his lawsuit against Cameron, which claims that the producer/writer/director stole the ideas for Avatar from him. In a ruling on Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Alan Rosenfield ruled that Cameron must turn over to James Ryder the original drafts of his screenplay. Ryder, in a suit claiming breach of implied contract, claims that he wrote his screenplay for a movie to be called K.R.Z. 2068 while working for Lightstorm from 1996-98 and that the script was submitted to Cameron on his behalf by independent producer Andrew Wald in 2000. The K.R.Z. screenplay does have a plot similar to Avatar, but L.A. Weekly's website quoted Matthew Ali (whom it described as a hardcore L.A. sci-fi enthusiast) as observing that so do several other sci-fi tales, such as Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, or Princess Mononoke. The plot wasn't that unique, said Ali. Cameron himself said in a sworn declaration, Unequivocally, the story for Avatar is the result of my independent creation.
There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.