We’ve heard plenty about the easy-choice sequels to Avatar, including that it was possible that director James Cameron might just film them back-to-back in order to cut costs and get them in theaters much sooner. Aside from that, it was unclear when these might happen and even whether these two sequels would be Cameron’s next project or not.
To settle all of that 20th Century Fox has put out an official announcement that Cameron will in fact direct Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 next up, with hopes to begin production by late 2011. It’s still unclear whether or not the two films will be shot back-to-back, but with planned release dates in 2014 and one year later in 2015, you’d have to assume that it’s very, very likely. All that needs to be done is a little production math: it took Cameron years just to get the record-breaking Avatar in theaters, and a 2011-2014 job planned, it’d be a tad crazy to think he could somehow find a way to squeeze in the third film in under a year.
Of the announcement, Cameron had this to say:
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. 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.
As expected, the movies will go big with IMAX and 3D being utilized in full.
There had been rumors that Cameron might step away from Pandora to make a big Cleopatra movie with Angelina Jolie in the lead, but as you can see, he’s chosen to stick with his creation and run with what’s proven so successful already.