James Cameron is not the type of filmmaker to rush things. His patience is legendary, waiting for technology to catch up to what he sees in his mind’s eye, and now, after eight long years, he has officially began production in Manhattan Beach on the four Avatar sequels he’s shooting in succession. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Cameron’s filming four blockbuster-sized 3D films in sequence would be a significant accomplishment for anyone, even a director as notoriously ambitious as he is.
Following pre-production in Australia this past spring, Avatar 2 begins filming this week with original cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore, Stephen Lang, Matt Gerald, and Sigourney Weaver returning. New cast members include Game of Thrones star Oona Chaplin (she played Robb Stark’s doomed bride Tails Maegyr), here she’ll be playing a central character who will be a part of all four sequels, and Fear the Walking Dead star Cliff Curtis as the chief of a reef people clan called the Metkayina.
Cameron’s four consecutive films would best Peter Jackson’s feat of shooting all three The Lord of the Rings films back-to-back-to-back, and with a huge budget somewhere in the realm of $1 billion, which would make it the most expensive shoot of its kind. Yet Cameron already has the two highest-grossing films worldwide of all time, his 1997 Titanic and the first Avatar, which was released in 2009. If all goes to schedule, Fox will release Avatar 2 on December 18, 2020, with Avatar 3 a year later, followed by 4 and 5 in December 2024 and 2025.
Featured image: Zoe Saldana as Neytiri and Sam Worthington as Jake Sully in Avatar. Courtesy 20th Century Fox.