Well, we’re getting four more “Avatar” sequels. And while many are arguing that the blockbuster doesn’t need a followup and that the pop culture realm doesn’t care about James Cameron‘s blue alien movie, it’s worth noting that it’s not just 20th Century Fox who have a vested interest in the success of the followup films. Next year, “Pandora — The World Of Avatar” will be opening in Disney‘s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort at a cost of $500 million. Thus, Disney will also be hoping “Avatar” is a success for their own reasons — essentially, “Avatar” has two mega-corporations who want it to succeed. So, don’t count out Cameron, and expect the narrative around the sequels to change in the years ahead.
That said, four movies is still a lot, and with “Avatar 2” now due in cinemas in 2018, and the next three films coming in 2020, 2022 and 2023, you might be wondering how Cameron is going to shoot them all. Well, he’s going to roll up his sleeves, dive right in, and make ’em all at once.
“It’s not back-to-back. It’s really all one big production. It’s more the way you would shoot a miniseries. So we’ll be shooting across all [the films] simultaneously. So Monday I might be doing a scene from Movie Four, and Tuesday I’m doing a scene from Movie One. … We’re working across, essentially, eight hours of story,” he told Famous Monsters Of Filmland. “It’s going to be a big challenge to keep it all fixed in our minds, exactly where we are, across that story arc at any given point. It’s going to be probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’m sure the actors will be challenged by that as well. It’s like, ‘No, no, no, no, this person hasn’t died yet, so you’re still in this phase of your life.’ It’s a saga. It’s like doing all three ‘Godfather‘ films at the same time.”
It’s ambitious stuff, and you can bet the marketing rollout will be just as carefully planned as the production of the movie. It’ll certainly be a different climate when “Avatar 2” rolls into cinemas in 2018, compared to when “Avatar” was released in 2009. Marvel is now a massive force, Universal will have launched their cinematic universe of monster movies, Warner Bros. will be well into their DC Films series, and of course there’s the return of the “Star Wars” franchise. The latter tentpole series is probably the biggest competition, at least on a surface level, to Cameron’s films, but remember it’s in everyone’s interest for Fox and Disney to get along, so don’t expect any showdowns between “Avatar” and “Star Wars.”
“My original plan was to release them a year apart, but we’re opening that up. If for no other reason than that I don’t want to land on the same date as one of the ‘Star Wars’ sequels. That wouldn’t be fair to them. [Laughs] No, that’s just good business. I don’t want to go head-to-head with ‘Star Wars.’ That would be stupid. And hopefully they won’t want to go head-to-head with us,” he said.
Production on the “Avatar” sequels is now underway. Are you ready to return to Pandora?