It looks as though our long-awaited trip back to Pandora has been put on hold for another year, after director James Cameron revealed to The Associated Press that he has opted to push Avatar 2 back to December 2017.
The decision comes after the filmmaker realized the complex nature of the sequel’s overarching plot, which will go on to seed Avatar 3 and 4 given that the three movies are being shot simultaneously. In a statement, here’s what the director had to say on the matter.
“There’s a layer of complexity in getting the story to work as a saga across three films that you don’t get when you’re making a stand-alone film,” said Cameron.“We’re writing three simultaneously. And we’ve done that so that everything tracks throughout the three films. We’re not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that and parallel with that, we’re doing all the design. So we’ve designed all the creatures and the environments.”
Originally, Cameron had planned to have work on the scripts wrapped up by the end of this month so filming could get underway. Now, the director has bought himself some more time in order to link the films together in an intricate, satisfying way. We understand that production will largely be set in New Zealand, which played host for the original movie back in 2009.
Speaking of which, visual effects company WETA digital, which is serving as the chief VFX artists for the trio of sequels, stated recently that Avatar 2 and its sequels are the “most ambitious” projects that the studio has ever worked on. Whether the films live up to that rather lofty praise remains to be seen, but it certainly lends credence to Cameron’s decision to postpone the next chapter in Pandora’s lore because of its complexity.
This news now means that Avatar 2 won’t be arriving until 2017, a full eight years after its predecessor. But the pressing question remains, has Cameron missed the opportune window of time to release a follow up to the highest-grossing film in history?