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Avatar 2 coming December 2014, with Avatar 3 in 2015

If you listen closely you can almost hear the execs at Twentieth Century Fox rubbing their hands together in the international symbol for “we’re about to make a LOT of money”, followed by an unnecessary, but totally justifiable maniacal laugh.

Despite suggestions that James Cameron may be heading to Egypt to film a remake of Cleopatra starring Angelina Jolie, and despite the fact that Cameron is still technically attached to direct the adaptation of the Japanese manga Battle Angel, it appears that he will be passing on both in order to return to Pandora with two Avatar sequels that will be shot back to back.

According to a press release sent to AICN, Cameron will begin work on writing the sequels early next year, with plans to begin pre-production at the end of 2011.

“It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow, with the resources and partnership of a global media company. AVATAR was conceived as an epic work of fantasy – a world that audiences could visit, across all media platforms, and this moment marks the launch of the next phase of that world. With two new films on the drawing boards, my company and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at Twentieth Century Fox.” Cameron said in the press release. “Our goal is to meet and exceed the global audience’s expectations for the richness of AVATAR’s visual world and the power of the storytelling. In the second and third films, which will be self contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of AVATAR’s visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world. I’m looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”

Although it was always assumed Cameron would return to Avatar sooner rather than later, the director was coy about his plans on directing the next installments. This was almost certainly just a part of the negotiations, meaning that Cameron must have agreed to a deal that he is happy with. And after directing two of the top two highest grossing movies of all time, you have to imagine that the deal Cameron landed could allow him to retire to his own little island- or moderate size country sometime soon.