James Cameron’s Avatar was originally scheduled for two to three sequels, but there is a reason that the blockbuster saga has blown out to five films.
James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) was the first taste of the fictional world of Pandora, and after the film’s unprecedented success, a sequel, or sequels, taking us back to the breathtaking CGI alien planet was a given. Cameron’s initial plan was to make two to three follow-ups, but recent comments by the filmmaker, and noted members of the Avatar cast, have highlighted the reasons why there are no less than four sequels currently in differing stages of production.
Cameron revealed to Variety that he and his team “couldn’t stop writing” – hence the reason why Avatar franchise has now extended to an unprecedented five movies. “The Avatar story arc was originally meant to be a trilogy, but I overwrite, and my writers overwrote as well,” he said.
Also commenting on why there are so many sequels, noted actress and long-time collaborator with the Aliens director, Sigourney Weaver, teased that James Cameron is playing the long game.
“It’s kind of one story. They’re all independent,” she stated. “It works without four and five, but it really is a big saga.”
Weaver, who starred in the first movie as Dr. Grace Augustine, also shed some on the last two Avatar films, which are currently being completed.
“I’m busy doing Avatar 4 and 5,” Weaver told Hollywood Reporter, after she was asked about the possibility of doing another Alien film. She is playing a different (unknown) part than that of the original Avatar. Weaver also gave some hints on the nature of Avatar 2 and 3.
“We just finished shooting two and three,” she said. “We shot it in L.A. and James has announced publicly that there’s a lot of underwater work, so we learned how to free dive and we did many scenes underwater, which was challenging and kind of cool.”
So, it is official. There is some serious Avatar action now being completed, and fans of the original must be very happy.
As the sequels have been in the works so long (originally a sequel was planned for 2014), fans had almost lost hope. However, the four new movies being finished right now ensure that the Avatar franchise could never disappoint anyone in terms of volume. Cameron, not fazed by the sheer amount of films, is more concerned about their release dates. “The important thing for me is not when the first one comes out but the cadence of the release pattern,” he told Variety.
Avatar was, at the time (2009), the highest grossing film ever made, surpassing Cameron’s last record-breaking mega-effort, Titanic (also the highest grossing film ever made at the time), in every way monetarily possible. Both films being amongst the first to crack the billion-dollar mark (Titanic being the first ever film to do so). No doubt the forthcoming Avatar sequels will also rock the box office in stellar fashion.
Avatar 2 is set to be released on Dec 18, 2020, Avatar 3 on Dec 17, 2021, Avatar 4 Dec 20, 2024, and Avatar 5 Dec 19, 2025.