If you’re looking for any new story information on James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar sequels, you might as well go digging in your backyard for unobtainium. Cameron’s follow ups to the highest grossing movie of all time are still shrouded in secrecy, but star Zoe Saldana was able to offer a small update on where the writer-director is on his scripts and the approximate time it will take them to shoot the three sequels back-to-back.
While promoting Guardians of the Galaxy, Saldana told the Daily Mirror:
"James Cameron is still working on the final drafts of the script and then everyone in the cast will get the call. We're going to be shooting mainly in Los Angeles and that will make things easier for me since I live there. Because we're doing the sequels back-to-back and it's going to take at least eight or nine months or more to finish the (three) films."
Considering that much of the filming will take place on motion-capture stages, eight or nine months for three films actually seems longer than I would have imagined. Especially considering the fact that it only took Peter Jackson under a year and a half for principal photography for the Lord of The Rings trilogy, which was filmed on location in New Zealand — pick up shoots were done for each film, but that’s still amazing. The Avatar sequels will also be shooting partially in New Zealand, and perhaps it's the underwater mo-cap sequences that have been talked about that will prove especially time consuming.
Along with Saldana, Sam Worthington, and Stephen Lang will be reprising their roles, with Sigourney Weaver also returning to the cast in a different role. Avatar 2 is slated for a December 2016 release, followed by Avatar 3 in December 2017, and Avatar 4 sometime in 2018.