James Cameron Will Make All 4 AVATAR Sequels Simultaneously

Last week James Cameron announced that he would be making four Avatar sequels instead of just the previously announced three. The first of these sequels was supposed to be released in 2014. Two years later, the number of sequels has grown, and the director still hasn't started shooting. Hopefully, all this work and patience pays off for him and for 20th Century Fox, who is bankrolling the project. I’m really curious to see what Cameron has planned for thes films and if they will blow audiences away in the same way that the first film did.

In a recent interview with Famous Monsters of Filmland, Cameron talks about the process of making these four films, explaining that the sequel will not be filmed back-to-back. They will be filmed simultaneously! This is going to be a crazy and intense undertaking, but Cameron is up for the challenge. He says:

“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. It’s like doing all three Godfather films at the same time.”

The filmmaker goes on to talk about the technology he’s using to build the film and how he would have liked to use it to bring to life the Alien Queen from Aliens. In the process, he also explains that he’s going to shoot more real-world stuff for his upcoming Avatar sequels:

“If I could do the Alien Queen today with the techniques we used on Avatar, she’d be spectacular. She’d be much more dynamic. Now, where I would struggle is to make her as texturally real. But that’s all doable now. … On the new Avatar films, I’m actually going to shoot more real-world stuff. It may only be there as an example from which we then generate CG, or we may actually integrate some of those photographic elements. But I want more photography. … Like, if I was doing the Alien Queen, I would want photography to show the exact way that the slime drools off the curl of a lip and caught the light in a certain type of very low-key lighting. I would want to see that so that I can talk to the CG artist and say, ‘All right. Do that.’ … It always usually boils down to the lighting and the conception of the shot.”

There’s no doubt these Avatar films are going to be visually glorious, and I’m excited to see how much that visual epicness has improved since the first movie in 2009. Cameron goes on to say that he wants to keep the Avatar films away from the Star Wars release dates, so he’s built this new release date schedule around them:

“My original plan was to release them a year apart, but we’re opening that up. If for no other reason than that I don’t want to land on the same date as one of the Star Wars sequels. That wouldn’t be fair to them. [Laughs.] No, that’s just good business. I don’t want to go head-to-head with Star Wars. That would be stupid. And hopefully they won’t want to go head to head with us.”

Avatar 2 will be released in 2018, with Avatar 3 coming in 2020, Avatar 4 in 2022, and Avatar 5 in 2023.

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