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It’s been close to a decade since James Cameron’s Avatar hit theaters, shattered box office records and got people talking about the continuation of the franchise. With the second and third Avatar sequels set to be released in 2020 and 2021, the filmmaker has been hard at work on getting them ready for audiences. While a few months ago Cameron himself announced the principal cast finally wrapped filming, apparently, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Here’s what he said:
I’ve only done the performance capture part of it. It’s been misstated that Avatar 2 and 3 are wrapped. They’re only wrapped for those principles that are in capture only. Now, that is the vast majority of the characters and it is the vast majority of the running time of the film[s]. But that pesky little live action component is going to cost me five months of my life across the two movies.
Whoops! While his own words seemed to indicate Avatar 2 & 3 had finished up principal photography, it looks like James Cameron was only talking about the motion capture portion of the films. Per his recent interview with The Empire Film Podcast, there is still about five months’ worth of action sequences to get cracking on.
Considering Avatar 2 still has almost two years to go before it comes to theaters, it’s not surprising there’s still some work to be done on the big-budget visual spectacle. Since the two sequels are being filmed back-to-back to ensure Avatar 3 can be released one year after Avatar 2, the production work needed is double.
The action sequences will reportedly start filming in April, putting the expected official wrap in August or September and leaving almost another year for post-production to get going.
The upcoming sequels are said to be standalone films, with their own encompassing adventure that doesn’t demand audiences to see the movie prior and will each wrap up by the end. While James Cameron originally envisioned the Avatar movies to be a trilogy, he has four sequels planned total.
Avatar 4 and 5 have not yet be greenlit (probably to see how moviegoers like the other Avatar movies first), though James Cameron has the scripts ready and are planned to be released in 2024 and 2025.
There hasn’t been much disclosed about what’s in store for Avatar, but we do know the film’s will center on Sam Worthington as Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana as Neytiri as they build a family. Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang and Giovanni Ribisi are returning along with Kate Winslet and Edie Falco joining the franchise.
The titles Avatar: The Way of Water, Avatar: The Seed Bearer, Avatar: The Tulkun Rider and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa are reportedly under consideration, though official names have not been given to the action flicks. The first Avatar sequel comes to theaters on December 18, 2020.