It might be time to hold an intervention for James Cameron. The legendary director has pulled off some insane technical feats over the years, but his plan for the future of the Avatar series seems a little too ambitious. In order to get four films made within the next decade and produce a cohesive story over the course of five films, he has had to deviate from what most filmmakers would consider a normal method of production. Cameron has recently come out and explained that the Avatar sequel production schedule will set itself apart from a typical film series because all four sequels will film simultaneously.
It’s not back-to-back. It’s really all one big production. It’s more the way you would shoot a miniseries. So we’ll be shooting across all [AVATAR scripts] simultaneously. So Monday I might be doing a scene from Movie Four, and Tuesday I’m doing a scene from Movie One. … We’re working across, essentially, eight hours of story. … It’s a saga. It’s like doing all three GODFATHER films at the same time.
Rather than producing each Avatar sequel in succession, James Cameron explained to Famous Monsters of Filmland that he would have four simultaneous productions running. On one day he may work on a scene for a particular Avatar film, but the very next day he could potentially work on another entry in the series. He goes on to explain that this particular method of shooting works for the Avatar series because the next four sequels tell a connected story that operates more within the framework of a miniseries than a film series.
In all honesty this all sounds like it’s getting out of hand. James Cameron has developed a well-deserved reputation as a cinematic innovator that extends as far back as the original Terminator movie, but this is pushing it. He likens this process to filming all three entries in The Godfather series at the same time, but we’re not so sure that’s even a good idea. While this process will probably ensure airtight continuity between films, it offers no breathing room for the creative forces behind the films to stop, take a step back, and figure out what works and what doesn’t between movies.
To have four major blockbusters in production at one time isn’t just a daunting task, it borders on impossible. Considering the fact that he promised to get us four Avatar films within the next decade – and considering the fact that it’s taken seven years to make any real progress on any of them – he must now be feeling the heat to get them done. However, if anyone can pull it off, then James Cameron is that person.
We will bring you relevant updates on each of the four Avatar sequels as they become available to us. Avatar 2 is currently slated for a December 2018 release.