Towards the end of 2019, director James Cameron said the performance capture side of both Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 had been completed. At the time, he said they were mostly done with the live-action side of production too, but they had a couple more months of work to do that would be completed in the spring. However, he wasn’t expecting the coronavirus pandemic to put a wrench in those plans, and production in New Zealand was forced to shut down a bit, resulting all the Avatar sequels being delayed.
Thankfully, James Cameron and his crew have been back at work, and now the director has provided an update saying that live-action shooting for Avatar 2 is complete, and soon they’ll be finished with live-action production for Avatar 3 as well.
James Cameron recently sat down for a chat with Arnold Schwarzenegger at the 2020 Austrian World Summit (via CinemaBlend), and he was asked about his work on the Avatar sequels. Here’s what Cameron had to say:
“The day we deliver Avatar 2, we’ll just start working on finishing Avatar 3. So where we are right now, I’m down in New Zealand shooting. We’re shooting the remainder of the live-action. We’ve got about 10% left to go. We’re 100% complete on Avatar 2, and we’re sort of 95% complete on Avatar 3.”
So as soon as Avatar 2 is finished and ready to be released in theaters, they’ll be putting all their attention on Avatar 3. As for the latter sequel, they’re working on doing the last bit of live-action, which should be done sooner than later. Then it’s a long run of post-production, because Avatar 2 won’t be hitting theaters until December 2022. It’s also possible that reshoots will be necessary once they start piecing the movie together and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
So little is known about the Avatar sequels, and the set photos arriving online every now and then haven’t revealed very much either. But that’s to be expected for a movie that relies so heavily on visual effects to build the world of Pandora. As of now, all we know is that the story is focused squarely on Jake and Neytiri, and their Na’vi family. Producer Jon Landau said a little while back:
“This is the story of the Sully family and what one does to keep their family together. Jake and Neytiri have a family in this movie, they are forced to leave their home, they go out and explore the different regions of Pandora, including spending quite a bit of time on the water, around the water, in the water.”
The Avatar sequels are bringing back the original movie’s cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver (as a new character), and Matt Gerald. New cast members include Kate Winslet, Edie Falco, Michelle Yeoh, Vin Diesel, Jemaine Clement, and Oona Chaplin. There’s also a whole group of young actors playing the Na’vi children of Jake and Neytiri in the movie.
Avatar 2 is slated to arrive on December 22, 2022, and Avatar 3 will follow on December 20, 2024. If those two sequels turn out well, then we’ll get Avatar 4 arriving on December 8, 2026, and finally, Avatar 5 is slated for December 22, 2028.