Jon Favreau has not exactly been shy about displaying his love of emerging film technologies. Back in the 1990s he was an independent writer and director making movies like Swingers and Made, but more recently he has gone all in on digital filmmaking – pushing limits with projects like The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and The Mandalorian. So is anybody really surprised that he took some time to poke his head in on what's happening with James Cameron's Avatar 2?
With the release of the blockbuster sequel still a couple years away, fans anticipating the movie have been left to subsist on little nuggets dropped on social media, and this week we got a great one. While it's not entirely clear when the photo was taken, producer Jon Landau has provided a cool look behind-the-scenes of Avatar 2 on his Instagram page that features a cool cameo from Jon Favreau:
The production of Avatar 2 has split time between the United States and New Zealand, and when things were in full swing in Los Angeles Jon Favreau apparently came by to check out what's happening. As alluded to, he had his first taste of filming on digital backlots with the making of The Jungle Book in 2016, and since then it has become a massive part of his career. As a result, it makes all kinds of sense that he would be interested in seeing what James Cameron is up to with Avatar 2, as Cameron is another filmmaker who has demonstrated a heightened interest in the intersection of movies and technology. There are surely a lot of film nerds who would love to learn what they are talking about in this photo.
With the first Avatar, James Cameron waited years and years for computers and software to catch up with his vision, and now that we are more than a decade removed from the release of that movie it's hard not to be curious what he's cooking up this time. Filmmaking has changed a lot since 2009, but there will be tremendous expectations for Avatar 2 to feature cutting edge material, and the kind of footage that creates should be fascinating.
Set to feature returning stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and more, Avatar 2 will pick up on Pandora more than a decade after the events of the first movie and find a peaceful life being lived on the planet disrupted by a returning threat. Preliminary shooting began all the way back in August 2017, and live action filming ended in September 2020.
With the next season of The Mandalorian (not to mention a number of other Star Wars Disney+ shows) set to air before the release of Avatar 2, it's entirely possible that we will see the influence this little set visit had on Jon Favreau long before James Cameron's epic actually hits the big screen. We'll just have to wait and see.
Avatar 2 is currently scheduled to hit theaters on December 16, 2022.