Nearly eight years after the release of James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar, the director has begun production on an unprecedented four films, with a total budget of $ 1 billion. Like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Cameron will be shooting the films at the same time, treating as one large production. Cameron previously had this to say about it:
“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 [Avatar scripts] 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. 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.”
Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore, Stephen Lang, Matt Gerald, and Sigourney Weaver will be returning for the sequel, along side new cast members Cliff Curtis (Fear the Walking Dead) and Oona Chaplin (Game of Thrones). Cameron talks a bit about the characters in the films:
“The interesting conceit of the ‘Avatar’ sequels is it’s pretty much the same characters. There are new characters and a lot of new settings and creatures, so I’m taking characters you know and putting them in unfamiliar places and moving them on this greater journey. But it’s not a whole bunch of new characters every time. There’s not a new villain every time, which is interesting. Same guy. Same motherfucker through all four movies. He is so good and he just gets better. I know Stephen Lang is gonna knock this out of the park.”
The first Avatar sequel will be released on December 18, 2020, with the following three to be released in December of 2021, 2024, and 2025.