Peter Jackson made New Zealand his home for three Lord of the Rings movies and three additional Hobbit films, the second of which many of you saw this weekend. Now a fellow blockbuster director has decided to set up camp in the island nation to film multiple sequels back to back.

20th Century Fox (via Variety) announced over the weekend that James Cameron will film the next three Avatar movies in New Zealand. The sequels will be released in 2016, 2017 and 2018, all reaching theaters in December. Cameron attended a press conference in Wellington to announce the location shoot. You can watch it below:

Obviously, this is a tremendous shot in the arm for New Zealand’s film industry. The Avatar sequels will create hundreds of jobs over the next few years as Cameron fine-tunes his return trip to Pandora.

This news also confirms (and guarantees) multiple trips back to Cameron’s exquisite universe for years to come. Though the Titanic filmmaker has been teasing future Avatar sequels for some time now, actually seeing him on a stage announcing the start of the next stage of the franchise somehow makes it concrete. Too bad we have to wait all the way until 2016 to see the work that Cameron says already has begun with the wizards at Weta.

Can’t wait? Take a trip to Avatar Land, which will be coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida soon.

So we know that Avatar will be filmed in New Zealand, and we know the release dates. Cameron has announced that screenwriters Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planets of the Apes), and Shane Salerno (Savages) would collaborate with him on screenplays for the next three movies. Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are expected to return for the sequels, as will Stephen Lang… even though his character died in the initial film. It has taken a very long time for Cameron to follow up what currently stands as the highest-grossing film in U.S. history. Is anticipation at an all-time high? Are you excited to hear that three more Avatar movies are on the way?

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