James Cameron Offers Update On Avatar Sequels And HFR Possibility


After striking it big with Avatar in 2009, James Cameron is now devoting pretty much all of his time to developing not one, not two, but three sequels that he hopes to shoot back-to-back-to-back in order for them to hit theaters in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. For those keeping track at home, that’s a seven year gap between the first film and its first sequel, meaning that Cameron will have to do quite a lot to get people interested in visiting Pandora again after spending so much time away.

The director has spent the last couple of years giving brief hints and updates regarding production, and today he spoke with RTL to give a few more. According to Cameron, things are still in the early stages of development and moving along slowly. That’s no surprise, of course, considering how technologically dependent these movies are, but the director is confident that new technologies will help speed things along. He said:

We’re still in the early stages. Right now we’re developing the software. I’m writing the scripts. We’re designing all the creatures and characters and the settings, and so on. So, I’m not actually directing yet, but I’m doing all the other creative processes that lead up to that. It’s going very well. I think it’s going to be spectacular. You’ll see new worlds, new habitats, new cultures. The primary conflict between the human view kind of dominating nature and the Na’vi view of being integrated into nature is the same, but it manifests itself in very different ways.

The first film… took almost four years to make. We expect to be able to accelerate the process quite a bit, because we’ve improved a lot of the software and the computer graphics tools, and we’ve been working very closely with Weta Digital down here in New Zealand developing a whole new suite of tools to speed up the process.

In today’s franchise-driven Hollywood climate, it’s nice to see a director taking his time with a property as potentially lucrative as this one. Say what you want about how derivative the first movie was, it was still a gigantic leap forward in terms of visual effects and technological innovation, and Cameron is taking the sequels very seriously (and hopefully working out the kinks in the storytelling department). He’s also looking into new ways he can push the envelope; the director confirmed that he has high frame rate (something Peter Jackson’s been toying with on the Hobbit trilogy) and 4K resolution in mind:

We’re looking at high frame rate. I’m studying that. I haven’t made a final decision yet, whether the entire film will be made at a high frame rate or only parts of it. You know we’ll be shooting at a native resolution of probably 4K and so there should be a lot of true 4K theaters by then as well.

So, if all goes well, we could be in for quite the visual treat whenever Avatar 2 finally hits theaters. Cameron is optimistic about the potential of these films, and at the moment we are too. After all, he’s constructed quite the sandbox in which he can build this universe, and there are endless possibilities for where he can take the Avatar franchise. Cameron agreed, saying:

The thing that’s great about ‘Avatar,’ it’s such a rich world, I can explore any theme or any idea that I want. Once you’ve got the characters that an audience loves, it’s great to surprise them and make changes and turns that they don’t expect. And you don’t have to spend so much time of the movie setting up all that stuff, because the audience will remember from the previous film.

Tell us, are you excited for the upcoming Avatar sequels? Or has the gap between films left you uninterested? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author


James Garcia

Lego photographer, cinephile, geek. James is 24 and lives in Portland, OR. He writes for several websites about pop culture, film, and TV and runs a video production company with his wife called Gilded Moose Media.