Like all big budget movie shoots, Avatar 2 was put on hiatus by the COVID-19 lockdowns. Unlike many countries, New Zealand decided to quickly impose a strict lockdown at the start of the pandemic. As such, to date, they’ve recorded only 1,139 cases of the virus and a mere 21 deaths. With transmission rates now very low, their lockdown has begun to be relaxed. This means that the various shoots taking place there, most notably the Avatar sequels and Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings show, can begin to start back up.
Avatar 2 producer Jon Landau marked the occasion with a photo from the set and a message saying the following:
“Our #Avatar sets are ready — and we couldn’t be more excited to be headed back to New Zealand next week. Check out the Matador, a high speed forward command vessel (bottom) and the Picador jetboat (top) — can’t wait to share more.”
MORE FROM THE WEB
We’ve known for a long time that the focus of Avatar 2 is the oceanic life of Pandora, so showing off some cool ships makes sense. Given James Cameron’s underwater proclivities and high-profile environmentalism, we can assume that these boats will be crewed by the human villains of the film. The mean-looking harpoon gun on the front of the Matador craft, meanwhile, is a big hint that there’s going to be implicit criticism of commercial whaling in the movie (and the name ‘Matador’ is obviously linked with animal cruelty).
Right now, Avatar 2 is scheduled for release on December 17th, 2021 and indications are that it’ll keep that prime release date despite the COVID-19 delays. WETA Digital has continued working on the film’s effects during the lockdown and apparently, some “virtual production” has been done in California, so let’s hope they can pick up right where they left off in March.
By the time Avatar 2 comes out, it’ll have been over a decade since Avatar smashed box office records to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. Can the franchise steal that crown back from Avengers: Endgame next year? We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s not smart to bet against a James Cameron film breaking records.