James Cameron is just started one of the biggest film productions ever with four sequels to Avatar currently underway. Now, the director has revealed a bit more about exactly how he plans to get these movies done. The films have been a long time in coming but Cameron confirms that the pre-production work on all four of the movies is done and ready to go. Filming is now underway on the first two films, which will then go into post-production. Then everybody will get a break, before doing it all again. Assuming everybody survives the first pair. According to Cameron...
Avatar 2 and 3 will be captured together and then [go through postproduction] sequentially. Then we go back and capture 4 and 5. They're all written and they're all designed, so we literally hit the ground running the day after Avatar 3 comes out, starting capture on 4 and 5 and then post on those and release those. That's the plan. So, it's kind of a two-and-two structure.
Originally, the word was that all four Avatar sequels would be going into simultaneous production, which seemed like a bit much to film. However, now the gap that is set in-between the release of Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 makes some sense. Apparently, there will be a break in production after Avatar 3 is in the can, a break that will actually last until the third film is released. Once that's happened, however, work on the final two movies will begin.
While making four movies all at once seemed extreme, this new schedule might actually be even more ambitious, for the simple fact that James Cameron believes that after two Avatar movies are released, he'll be ready to jump into two more without any additional pre-production work. Considering how long it has taken the franchise to get to this point, that seems optimistic. When Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 come out there are going to be responses. Fans may love them, they may not. Critics will have their opinions. Both may cause Cameron to rethink things. Technology will certainly see changes in the years in between, possibly significantly so. Can we really be so sure that James Cameron, of all people, won't come up with a reason to tweak the last two films after people have responded to the previous pair?
James Cameron tells The Hollywood Reporter that he's confident in the current release schedule, so maybe he's set in stone and no popular or critical response will shake his resolve. If something does happen, however, be ready to see those last two release dates shift again.
Either way, with the next two Avatar movies now filming, or in the "capture" process to use James Cameron's lingo, since everything in the film is being done with motion capture technology, it does seem like we will be getting at least two Avatar movies on schedule.