Sequel News

Fox and James Cameron Announce 'Avatar 2', '3' & '4' to be Filmed Simultaneously

The first will be released December 2016

Avatar sequels filming back-to-back-to-back
Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington in Avatar
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Fox and James Cameron have announced the world of Avatar will not simply end with Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, but today we learn Avatar 4 will also become a reality with all three films set to be filmed simultaneously with production beginning next year.

I reported the news yesterday that Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds) had come aboard to help script Avatar 2, but it turns out the screenwriting assistance is larger than that. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planets of the Apes) and Shane Salerno (Savages, Salinger) will also collaborate on the screenplays for the three sequels with the first expected to hit theaters December 2016, the second December 2017 and the third December 2018. WETA Digital will again work with Cameron to build the world of Pandora and wherever else the sequels may go.

There is no word on plot or cast, but I think it's safe to assume Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana will be returning and I would also expect Cameron to find some way to bring Sigourney Weaver back from the dead.

Quoted in the press release, Cameron said, "Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I've come to realize that Avatar's world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I'm pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh -- all writers I've long admired -­ to join me in completing the films screenplays."

Producer Jon Landau recently presented some Avatar 2 test footage at the Autodesk Users Group event during Siggraph according to The Hollywood Reporter, which describes the footage as such:

He then showed a series of clips, starting with a live capture created on a stage last November, which was set on Pandora and featured a human as well as the Na'vi. "This was our first foray into what we wanted to do," Landau told the audience, pointing to noticeable improvements in aspects of the image including lighting and shadows.

The next examples came out of Autodesk's virtual production software Motion Builder, and again showed a notable advancement in quality. "Ultimately our goal is to get to this on stage [for live capture]," he said. "This is going to allow Jim to light the scenes and make the process more efficient... and focus on what is most important--the close up. Movies about storytelling."

You ready to head back to Pandora in three years? Is it too early to even care?

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  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    Ugh... I'm already tired of hearing about these films and they're not even out yet. I can't wait to hear about Avatar 2 breaking the records of Avatar.... And then Avatar 3 'smashing' those records... And so on and so forth... And James Cameron becomes God or something... Bah. Ah. I hate. Everything. lol.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/racquetman/ racquetman

      Funny, I feel the exact same way times one million about Star Wars VII.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/racquetman/ racquetman

        ........and every comic book movie from now until the end of time!!!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

    I loved the first Avatar and would love to see one sequel to it, but three sequels? Is that really necessary?

    • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

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    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/racquetman/ racquetman

      Necessary? Is it necessary to drink your own urine?..........

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hudsucker/ Hudsucker

    I heard this story about 6 months ago.

  • cineJAB

    Avatar 2 will be loosely based on the classic straight-to-VHS disney classic, Pocahontas II.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jpcoleman7/ jpcoleman7

    I'd rather see Pacific Rim, After Earth or Lone Ranger 2, 3 and 4.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

    Does seem like pushing it, but then again I was perfectly happy with The Hobbit being 3 films. I am sure these Avatar film's will look incredible, and who knows by the time all is said and done, the films could make a pretty great franchise. I bet Fox is expanding its vaults.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

    I suppose this means Cameron is beginning to realize that writing has never been one of his strengths as a filmmaker?

    • dslacker

      You crushed it.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RonOnealFresh/ Ron Oneal Fresh

    Avatar was an enjoyable one-time ride.

    However I rather James Cameron do something else. Like that Battle Angel project or just something unexpected, ambitious, grandiose. Three sequel is not that.

    But hey, I can't begrudge someone for printing a billion dollars into their bank account.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RonOnealFresh/ Ron Oneal Fresh

    Question: If Taken 3 is disposable cinema, why can't Avatar 4 be disposable cinema? or is that just impossible because it's 'JAMES CAMERON'

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RonOnealFresh/ Ron Oneal Fresh

      Sorry If I sound negative.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

      Avatar 3 and 4 basically are disposable cinema.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    I actually do have to wonder if it's at all possible for any of them to do the business the first one did.

    I mean, what the hell are Fox going to spend on three of them (granted doing them at once will save some money) all in? Where's the bar for success here? They surely can't all eclipse the first. Or maybe they can.

    Either way, I'm not spending a whole lotta time worrying about it since it's over three years away. And THAT assumes no further delays to the schedules so far.

    Granted if there's anyone who can pull it off, it will be Cameron.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/racquetman/ racquetman

      The bar for success = make a profit. Let's take a guess and say that making these 3 films costs Fox $2 billion (probably an over estimate). The first film made $2.8 billion. Let's say people don't nearly like the sequels as much and they only make $1 billion each on average. That's still a $1 billion profit!!!!!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    Coincidentally, I just rewatched Avatar last night. I still really like it and wouldn't mind a sequel. It's also nice to see that they're not rushing production.

    Three sequels does sound like pushing it, but I trust James Cameron enough to know what he's doing. Isn't Avatar 4 supposed to be a prequel anyway? I'm not 100% sure, but I remember reading that somewhere.

  • http://www.smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    Excessive much?

  • http://www.smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    "I'm not in the film business, I'm in the Avatar business"

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/racquetman/ racquetman

    These stories could literally go anywhere. They aren't based on some preexisting property. He could make each film interesting in a multitude of different ways. We'll just have to wait and see.

    Like Laremy likes to say, people don't know what they want until someone gives it to them. I trust Cameron will give us something new and interesting with these sequels. I don't see them being the cookie cutter garbage that has plagued theaters lately. Have some faith in Jimbo; he knows how to deliver the goods.

  • http://themoviegurusblog.blogspot.com The Movie Guru

    I absolutely hated the first Avatar. It's really awful IMO. Three sequels is pushing it. Make it a trilogy and end this crap.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      I wouldn't go so far as "hate" myself...but, much like that Haggmeister movie Crash, it made me cry, only to walk out afterwards realizing my emotions had been manipulated and the movie was actually empty.

      So yeah, bring on three more movies of that...I guess.

  • http://www.digitalkebab.com Shaun Heenan

    I really like Avatar, but four of ANYTHING seems like a lot.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/racquetman/ racquetman

      Tell that to the Fast and Furious franchise. And don't get me started on James Bond......

      • http://www.digitalkebab.com Shaun Heenan

        I say all the time how baffling it is that there are six of those (and counting).

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    I'm ready to Pandora. Actually kind of disappointed at how long we have to wait - will have been seven years since the previous one by the time 2016 rolls around. Not sure how excited I'll be for three years in a row of them.

    Kind of wish James Cameron would devote time to other new stories as well - after all, he's one hell of a director / writer.

  • Bazellis

    7 years between sequels....is there any other movie franchise with such a long gap?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      Even just think back to Cameron himself 7 years passed between Terminator 1 and Terminator 2 (and in fairness it didn't suffer box office wise because of it even if the cinema model was different then) and there was 7 years between Alien and Aliens.

      I'm sure there's more. Including 8 years between Sin City and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

        In fact T2 to T3 was a 12 year gap. But the absence of Cameron was felt there. I imagine it's the tip of the sequel gap iceberg.

        • Matt Poke

          28 Years for Tron
          25 Years for The Hustler to The Colour of Money
          19 Years for Indiana Jones

          7 years is relative peanuts.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TimmaeXVX/ TimmaeXVX

    James Cameron doesn't do what James Cameron does for James Cameron. James Cameron does what James Cameron does because James Cameron is... James Cameron

    His name is James, James Cameron
    The bravest pioneer
    No budget too steep, no sea too deep
    Who's that?
    It's him, James Cameron!

    James, James Cameron
    explorer of the sea
    With a dying thirst to be the first
    Could it be? Yeah that's him!
    James Cameron

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

      Best comment ever!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/BishopSummers/ BishopSummers

    I'm a huge fan of Terminator 1 and 2. And I think Aliens is one of the best action sci-fi movies from the 80's. I thought the 3D effects in Avatar were really great at the time and the story was so-so. Maybe Cameron can show Hollywood how to make a 3D movie again. I just don't know if he can deliver a really good movie, let alone 3 sequels that are good.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    While these might break opening weekend records--though even that is difficult in December--they won't make as much as the first one, which I've only seen once and couldn't get through a second time. Just think back to Star Wars, a similarly revolutionary sci-fi film that was the biggest of all time...none of the sequels came very close to topping it (the prequels did, but the marketplace was completely different at that point). And unless there are 2D versions--which I kind of doubt, though 3D is clearly no longer a draw in the U.S,--I won't be seeing them.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/wuggles/ B. Smith

    I'm curious as to what the plots will be of the 3 movies. I think Avatar, plotwise, was basically "Pocahontas in Space" but it wrapped up the plot points in a satisfactory way. Are they going to do prequels? What other conflict is there to explore? Other planets?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

    All of you calm down! Cameron is going on to make the greatest film series ever. The first one was a masterpiece. If he was going to do it for the money he would make five instead. I can't wait to see Sam Worthiness deliver another Oscar caliber performance!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    If you're working on three films at one time is the quality going to be there? Just a thought. I wasn't a fan of the first one so it's unlikely I'll see the sequels but it's probably aimed at younger folks and families anyway

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

      It's Cameron, he is a perfectionist.

  • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

    Hooray, more Avatars! Woot! Yay! So excited!

    ......

    Just kidding.

  • http://www.creatingthestory.com greenpaw

    Sounds like the first sign of that impending cinema-implosion has arrived?

    Avatar was interesting because it harnessed the renewed technology of motion capture and 3D and took viewers on a journey to a new place. I'd say more viewers remember enjoying the "experience" of seeing Avatar in cinemas rather than the story itself. Now that we've all had 3D and most of us are over it (at least to the point that we don't think it is worth the extra $)- the story itself isn't going to cut it unless they take it to a new place (figuratively and literally).

    My guess is Avatar is James Cameron's own legacy-franchise, much like George Lucas has (or had) Star Wars, and he will try to grow the world as much as possible - And that means taking the action off Pandora as soon as he can.

    And in regards to an earlier comment about James Cameron's writing - the Aliens screenplay is a fantastic read.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

      Sorry I can't agree with you on Aliens, but I'm not a big fan of that film.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    The story of the first movie was ok. But of course the visuals were mindblowing and the world of Pandora is an amazing fantasy world. After watching the movie, I left wanting more on Pandora, look into more details of the planet and explore it. Hope the next three movies do it with at least a little better story. Avatar 2 is probably going to be the first movie ever to cross he 3 billion worldwide box-office. Should be fun. I don't even want to know the budget for this movie. I'm sure its off the charts.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Corbin/ Corbin

    Well, I liked the first one, but this seems excessive.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/topyxyz/ topyxyz

    Loved the first one. Didn't even realize its flaws until my second or even third viewing. No film to date has been more enjoyable than Avatar, and knowing that he has a team of writers with him I'm even more excited... But good lord it's three years away.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JohnW.Creasy/ John W. Creasy

    The wonder of Pandora was what made Avatar interesting. The plot was famously simplistic. Pandora will not be new and surprising for any of these other movies, so I don't see three massive hits coming with these sequels.

    And as far as exploring the oceans of Pandora goes, that would undercut the fact that Cameron got a lot of his ideas from ocean life in the first place, translating them into the flora and fauna on land.

    Ultimately I can't see anyone getting excited to follow the continuing adventures of boring Jake Sully.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rands2113/ Rands2113

    I didn't enjoy the first one, these are all for money. What more can they really do with it? Avatar is fine as a standalone movie. What's with sequels? Why ruin the first one?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheJackal/ The Jackal

    Whatever, haters. Avatar was one of the most amazing cinematic rides ever created. James Cameron has never made a shoddy film. He has never ceased to impress. I've no doubt that it'll be worth the wait. I'm glad to hear that they'll all film simultaneously. Perhaps Cameron can finally begin work on Battle Angel in 2015.

    Thems the facts