James Cameron's 'Avatar' shattered box-office records during its time in theaters and currently sits at the $2.7 billion mark in total worldwide grosses. It's only natural with a film of this magnitude to wonder how the whole idea came about, and now we have an in-depth account of how the man of 'Titanic,' 'Aliens' and 'The Terminator' fame created this modern flick. Too bad he was kind of forced to do it!

James Cameron is currently in the throngs of an idea theft lawsuit, where the accuser is claiming the director stole his story, which he states was then transformed into what is now 'Avatar.' So to combat this lawsuit, Cameron released a 45-page document, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, detailing how he created 'Avatar.' A portion of this document reads:

Cameron says he has been pulling together elements of Avatar almost all his life. When he was in 11th grade, he did a pen drawing entitled 'Spring on Planet Flora' which he says became the concept behind the alien jungle landscape on the moon Pandora, where Avatar takes place. When he was in college, he co-authored a script about a wheelchair-bound man who elects to surgically remove all external sensory input, so that he can journey through his own mind. And in the late 1970s, he co-wrote a script entitled Xenogenesis, where characters encounter strange creatures on a planet.

It also notes that "the treatment and draft script [for 'Xenogenisis'] contain material that was not used in the Avatar film but may be used in Avatar sequels.'" Other tid bits worth noting are that Paul Reiser's character in 'Aliens' "was the direct prototype" of Giovanni Ribisi's character in 'Avatar,' and that the gear in 'Rambo II' inspired the gunships. Neat, huh?

If you care to read the entire 45-page creation story behind 'Avatar' that spans over five decades, click on over to THR.