Why Avatar 2 Can’t Begin Filming Immediately

Grace using her Avatar

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James Cameron's Avatar was a massive hit when it arrive in theaters back in 2009, becoming the highest grossing movie of all time in the process. Moviegoers have spent years patiently waiting for the highly anticipated sequels to arrive in theaters, despite Avatar 2's long gestation period. Cameron and company were in the midst of filming in New Zealand when sets around the world were shut down amid global health concerns. While the country recently gave sets the green light to kick production back up barring new health rules, Avatar 2 won't be able to immediately jump into production. At least for a few weeks.

Avatar 2 was in the midst of filming its live-action pieces when the set was suddenly shut down. Given how much work is required to put a movie of that scale in theaters, some fans worried that the sequel might be delayed. Luckily James Cameron and the cast and crew will be able to start filming, in a few weeks time. This is because those returning to the country will have to quarantine in their hotels for two weeks before stepping back onto set.

This latest update comes to us from Variety, and is sure to be an exciting bit of news for moviegoers who are eager to see the industry kick back up. Avatar 2 has a particular amount of pressure and anticipation behind it, considering the wild success of the first movie. And while the public has been able to return to Pandora through Disney theme parks, moviegoers are invested in the next chapter of the Na'vi.

According to the report, James Cameron is gearing up to start filming more of Avatar 2's live-action footage, once going through the mandated 2-week quarantine. This course of action will likely have to be repeated for the film's cast, including the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, and Kate Winslet. But moving at this quick yet careful pace is the only way Avatar's sequel will be completed in time for its intended release next December.

Movie fans can re-watch the original Avatar on Disney+. You can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.

There's currently no indication as to when film and television sets in the U.S. will open back up again, although other countries are moving forward with filming. As a result, projects that were filming abroad like Avatar 2 and Matt Reeves' The Batman may have the opportunity to get back to work sooner. Of course, each country has its own set of rules and regulations that sets were need to adopt in order to return to work safely.

Narratively, it should be interesting to see where James Cameron takes Avatar 2. The sequel will once again Sully and Neytiri, who were recently revealed that they have a family of their own. A slew of new characters are set to appear, as well as familiar faces and even Stephen Lang's villainous Miles Quaritch, despite his apparent death in the first Avatar.

Avatar 2 is currently set to arrive in theaters on December 17th, 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.