In June we brought you word that following the massive $2.5+ billion success of Avatar, director James Cameron would be filming Avatar 2, 3 and 4 back to back. This news emerged from an interview conducted with Avatar actress and celebrated extraterrestrial killer Sigourney Weaver which stated that “she films Avatar 2, 3, and 4 with James Cameron” immediately following a theatrical run in a Christopher Durang play at New York City’s Lincoln Center.
At the time we had no reason to doubt Weaver’s claims. Avatar made huge amounts of cash, and since Cameron had already put so much work into the special technology used to film the movie, it seemed perfectly likely that the man would want to get a jump on as many Avatar sequels as possible. Thanks to a new interview with Avatar co-producer Jon Landau however, that plan is now in doubt.
Landau was recently asked to comment on Weaver’s claims by New Jersey’s Courier Post newspaper, and according to him that earlier interview wasn’t entirely correct. “We doing two [Avatar sequels] back-to-back, but not a third,” Landau stated simply. Though this does contradict Weaver’s claims that a fourth Avatar movie is already in pre-production, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the fourth movie will never materialize. Landau would certainly know what he’s talking about in this instance, but knowing how devoted James Cameron is to this Avatar universe we’d be genuinely surprised if that first Avatar flick only spawned a trilogy.
Unfortunately, it seems that Landau had nothing else to say about the future of Avatar. That’s understandable as the Courier Post interview was mostly focused on the relatively recently re-released 3D version of Cameron’s Titanic (Landau also co-produced Titanic), but leaves Avatar fans wondering what direction this series will take. Normally we’d be pushing for rampant speculation on this fourth Avatar flick, but honestly that would be getting way, way ahead of ourselves.
Assuming Landau is correct (and, again, we have no reason to doubt him), we’ve still got Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 coming in the next few years. Given that neither has entered full production, and James Cameron’s lengthy, perfectionist filming process, we probably won’t see Avatar 2 until at least the summer of 2014. The third movie could possibly see theaters the very next year, but we’re more inclined to believe that it will debut in 2016. So that’s what? The next four years of James Cameron’s life mapped out? Add another Avatar sequel and Mr. Cameron would have to devote six years to this single property. Given Cameron’s love of ocean exploration, and his eternally-in-production live-action adaptation of the Battle Angel Alita manga we’d have to assume that the man would want to take some time over the next half-decade to explore his non-Avatar interests. Cameron is devoted to his creations, but he’s not psychotically obsessed with them.
In the end, Landau’s claims generate more questions than answers. From here on out can we all agree to just ignore any bit of Avatar news that doesn’t come directly from James Cameron? Otherwise we’re going to waste at least the next two years offering up meaningless predictions for the future, and frankly we’d rather spend our days keeping our readers pleasantly entertained with bizarre pop culture ephemera.