In case you were wondering if we could all collectively prevent the Avatar sequels from ever happening by pushing them out of our minds, James Cameron wants to let you know that he hasn’t forgotten. In fact, he made sure to tell The Hollywood Reporter that he’s delaying the release of the first of three (groan) sequels to 2017 because the writing process is “very involved.”
Previously, the plan was to have Avatar 2: The Avataring come out in 2016, but Cameron deemed that plan too ambitious. Probably in part because his intention is to shoot all three sequels at once and then release them, Hobbit-style, over three years.
Promoting the film industry in Wellington, New Zealand, with Peter Jackson and others, Cameron explained:
There’s a layer of complexity in getting the story to work as a saga across three films that you don’t get when you’re making a stand-alone film… We’re writing three simultaneously. And we’ve done that so that everything tracks throughout the three films. We’re not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that. And parallel with that, we’re doing all the design. So we’ve designed all the creatures and the environments.
He added that he intends to have all three screenplays completed by the end of January. But lest you think it’s just Cameron hunched over his laptop typing away, he’s actually leading a team of screenwriters who will link together the three stories. Husband-and-wife writing team Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) are working on Avatar 2; Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) is writing Avatar 3; and Shane Salerno (Armageddon) is on Avatar 4.
Producer Jon Landau also confirmed that 20th Century Fox is being very careful after the Sony hack. Though it will be interesting to see how many people go to see the Avatar sequels to find out how Cameron is following up nearly a decade later versus how many people just don’t have the interest.
Photo: WETA/20th Century Fox