Last month we heard that due to various factors we were unlikely to see Avatar 2 in 2014 as originally intended, but producer Jon Landau said work has already begun with WETA on the underwater performance-capture, so the ball is now rolling.
In a recent interview director James Cameron said Avatar 2 and 3 will be his main focus from now on, and he doesn’t intend to develop other projects on the side. Cameron also hinted that we may even see an Avatar 4.
From The New York Times:
I’ve divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. I’ve made two movies in 16 years, and I’ve done eight expeditions. Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the “Avatar” business. Period. That’s it. I’m making “Avatar 2,” “Avatar 3,” maybe “Avatar 4,” and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts.
That all sounds I suppose a little bit restricted, but the point is I think within the “Avatar” landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way. And anything I can’t say in that area, I want to say through documentaries, which I’m continuing.
Cameron also gave an update on where the sequels are in terms of development:
We’ve spent the last year and a half on software development and pipeline development. The virtual production methodology was extremely prototypical on the first film. As then, no one had ever done it before and we didn’t even know for two and half years into it and $100 million into it if it was going to work. So we just wanted to make our lives a whole lot easier so that we can spend a little more of our brainpower on creativity. It was a very, very uphill battle on the first film. So we’ve been mostly working on the tool set, the production pipeline, setting up the new stages in Los Angeles, setting up the new visual effects pipeline in New Zealand, that sort of thing. And, by the way, writing. We haven’t gotten to the design stage yet. That’ll be the next.
Nothing solid is known about the storylines for the sequels, but Cameron has previously revealed he would be “focusing on the oceans on Pandora, which will be equally rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative” as the rain forest environment we saw in the first film. This will require underwater performance-capture which has never been done before, so it’s no surprise that we’ll have to wait until 2015 and beyond to return to Pandora. One positive aspect is that they will be shooting the films back-to-back, so we probably won’t have to wait as long between movies.