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?