Perched at the tip-top of Hollywood’s box office charts – at $2.78 billion, the James Cameron franchise starter is yet to be beaten – Avatar is a name that is widely known around the film industry, even if it tends to evoke a mixture of groans and adulation.
Truth be told, there are those who believe Cameron’s fantastical sci-fi is the textbook example of an over-achiever, and that Avatar simply rode the wave of 3D surcharges all the way to box office stardom back in 2009. Nevertheless, its historic feat has resulted in the announcement of not one, not two, but four full-blown sequels, beginning with the launch of Avatar 2 in December of 2020. They’re now in “full-tilt” production, according to James Cameron, who attributes the ten-year wait to mapping out the franchise’s overall vision.
It’s a tale that grew immensely in the telling, and while chatting to EW to promote the re-release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 3D, Cameron touched base on the current schedule, which will supposedly allow him to film each movie back-to-back.
Oh, we’re in production. We’re in full-tilt production. We’re in what we call ‘scouting,’ which basically is shooting for me. I’m on the stage all day long during the scouting process, because there are no sets or locations, other than in the virtual world, so I do all my location-scouting with a troop of actors that go through the virtual sets, and give me a sense of the scale and position, lighting, that sort of thing. Then, I’m in rehearsals with my principal cast and I start with them at the end of September.
Having already confirmed Stephen Lang’s Colonel as the overarching villain for all four Avatar sequels, the illustrious filmmaker then took time to address the good guys – namely Zoe Saldana as the returning Neytiri.
She is kind of the Queen of Outer Space at this point, between Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avatar. Although her character does not go to space in Avatar, I should point that out. We have to go through interstellar space to get to where she is. She pretty much lives in a rain forest.
Expect Avatar 2 to get the ball rolling on December 18th, 2020. It’ll be followed in quick succession by Avatar 3 (December 17th, 2021), Avatar 4 (December 20th, 2024) and, finally (?), Avatar 5 on December 19th, 2025. Buckle up, folks, we’re in it for the long haul.