Audiences will have to wait even longer to return to Pandora.
Director James Cameron revealed that the sequel to the highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide will no longer be released Christmas 2018.
The second installment in the planned five-film franchise has been delayed for a third time, after it was initially scheduled to hit theaters in December 2014. The other three films were originally slated for release during Christmas-time 2020, 2022, and 2023. The director didn’t mention whether the other sequels are behind schedule as well, but those releases will likely be affected, too, as the films will be shot simultaneously.
“Well, 2018 is not happening. We haven’t announced a firm release date,” Cameron told The Toronto Star when asked what he could disclose about the development. “What people have to understand is that this is a cadence of releases. So, we’re not making ‘Avatar 2’, we’re making ‘Avatar 2,’ ‘3,’ ‘4,’ and ‘5.’ It’s an epic undertaking. It’s not unlike building the Three Gorges dam.”
The filmmaker said the films will consume the next eight years of his life.
“So I know where I’m going to be for the next eight years of my life,” he added. “It’s not an unreasonable time frame if you think about it. It took us four-and-a-half years to make one movie and now we’re making four. We’re full tilt boogie right now. This is my day job and pretty soon we’ll be 24-7. We’re pretty well designed on all our creatures and sets. It’s pretty exciting stuff. I wish I could share with the world. But we have to preserve a certain amount of showmanship and we’re going to draw that curtain when the time is right.”
Stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana will reprise their roles in the sequels, while Sigourney Weaver, whose character died in the 2009 original, will play a new role.
“In my opinion, the three scripts I’ve read so far are many times more amazing than the first one in terms of their scope,” Weaver told Variety late last year. “He did a lot of the heavy lifting in the first movie, establishing the family and the relationships and the world, and now he really gets to play.”