Avatar Director And Font Connoisseur James Cameron Finally Responds To SNL's Papyrus Sketch

"Saturday Night Live" can be very hit or miss when it comes to their sketches, but it should come as no surprise that "Papyrus" will go down as one of their best. The bit features Ryan Gosling as a man who has disassociated from the world around him because he remembered that James Cameron's mega-blockbuster "Avatar" used a variation of the Papyrus font for its logo. It's the kind of thing you may think about for a second or two before moving on with your life, but the sketch from former "SNL" writer Julio Torres dedicates itself to making Gosling's breakdown look as dramatic as possible.

Like the "Potato Chip" segment, it's the kind of "SNL" bit that makes you laugh at how seriously everyone is playing their part with something so silly and bizarre. It's just a logo, and yet Gosling plays it as if the material is worthy of a conspiracy thriller. Since the 2017 sketch, Cameron has given the "Avatar" logo a typeface facelift that gives the series more of an identity, although it's not that different. It honestly looks as if the graphic designer took the modified Papyrus logo as is, and filled it with air.

The "Terminator 2" filmmaker can change the logo all he wants, but if the internet has taught me anything, it's that it never forgets. For five years, Cameron has remained silent on the whole Papyrus conversation ... until now. With the long-awaited "Avatar: The Way of Water" only weeks away, the blockbuster mastermind is finally breaking his silence.

'I like the font'

In the January 2023 issue of Empire, James Cameron finally faces the logo demons that have been haunting him for minutes, as he jokes about how the graphic design choice got in the way of getting even more money. "Just think of how much we could have grossed if it wasn't for that damn font," says Cameron. When confronted with a question from Chris Costello, the man behind the 1982 font, if Papyrus was used to parallel actual Indigenous tribes, Cameron mostly chalked it up to the marketing team:

"I was not aware that our font was an off-the-shelf thing; I assumed the art department or the title company came up with it. Of course, it was trolled mercilessly as a lazy choice, but frankly, I like the font."

After all of these years, he's taken the jokes in stride. Cameron even goes so far as to jokingly fire back at Gosling:

"Ryan Gosling needs to get out more, instead of freaking out over our font. Time to move out of your mom's basement, Ryan! And if Papyrus resonates with the issues of Indigenous cultures in the public consciousness, then that fits well with 'Avatar,' so I'm not losing any sleep over it."

I wish Cameron had dug in his heels and kept the original logo, especially since "Avatar" has already been at the forefront of a series of outdated jokes for well over a decade now. There's a part of me that hopes "Avatar: The Way of Water" ends with the same large screen-spanning Papyrus font that closes out the original film as one final gotcha, as it would possibly be the greatest punchline of the year, bar none.

"Avatar: The Way of Water" is set to hit theaters on December 16, 2022.