Last year, James Cameron said that Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 would be shot back-to-back and released in December 2014 and 2015 respectively, setting the hearts of geeks everywhere aflutter and probably causing the executives at 20th Century Fox to begin drooling with dreams of massive box office numbers. However, according to Cameron’s producing partner, Jon Landau, fans may have to wait until 2015 for Avatar 2 to come out, which means that number three would be delayed until 2016 at the earliest.
In an interview with Empire Landau said, “We’re not naming dates, but I think 2014 will be a tough date for us to make. It’s about getting it right. Movies make release dates; release dates don’t make movies.”
Special effects work is already under way on the sequel, which will take place in the oceans of Pandora. Weta Digital has already begun working on an underwater motion capture system, but only a portion of the film will be submerged, according to Landau. “It’s going to be like the Floating Mountains in the first movie,” he said. “It’s not going to be all underwater; it’s going to be a place we go to, leave and come back to.”
Landau also confirmed that despite the back-to-back filming schedule, Avatar 2 and 3 will be separate films, each with their own narrative arcs and climaxes. “Each one has to work alone,” said the producer. “That’s where movies fall into trouble – when they try to say, ‘You know what? It’s really one movie and there’s an intermission’ – so we want each one to be a standalone movie. The next one will kick off where the last one ended, but just like Avatar resolved itself and doesn’t feel like a set up to another movie, you don’t want Avatar 2 to feel like a set up for 3.”