James Cameron's Avatar sequels have been in development hell for so long we've never been entirely convinced they're ever actually going to happen. And yet, recent evidence seems to insist that they will. In fact, it now appears that Avatar 2 is actually going to begin filming very soon. As in, this coming Monday.
Avatar 2 has been an ongoing project for writer and director James Cameron since shortly after the first movie became the biggest box office hit of all time. However, that was back in 2009 and the near decade of time that has passed since then really made it seem like the Avatar movies were lost at sea. One sequel became two and eventually ballooned into four. That made the movies seem less likely to actually materialize, not more.
However, over the last few months, something strange has happened. Wheels appear to be turning and production seems to be adhering to some sort of schedule. We heard over the summer that the sequels, which are all going into production simultaneously, were starting rehearsals and Sigourney Weaver said that shooting was expected to begin by the fall. Now, The Hollywood Reporter says that filming is set to begin Monday. The autumnal equinox is Friday. That's some damn tight scheduling.
I'm still not entirely ready to believe that the Avatar sequels will actually make it to the screen. The fact that all four sequels are going into simultaneous production is a massive undertaking and considering how much time James Cameron spent getting the scripts just right, we expect filming is going to be a slow process. We're still more than three years out from the release date of Avatar 2. What bright, shiny new technology is going to come out in 18 months that is going to catch Cameron's eye and convince him to go back to the beginning to incorporate it into all the movies? How many times is that going to happen?
Still, maybe, just maybe, come December of 2020, we'll actually have a new Avatar movie in theaters. James Cameron and company have kept to their apparent schedule so far, perhaps they've finally cracked the code and figured out what they need to do to make these movies actually happen. Maybe the popularity of The World of Pandora at Disney World convinced everybody there was still enough interest in the movies to get everybody motivated to make this happen.
We'll be as excited as anybody to see Avatar movies arrive in theaters, but we've been burned before. Will something actually pop up between now and Monday that will actually delay the start of filming? Maybe not, but believing these movies might actually happen has become a difficult thing in which to have faith.