James Cameron this week confirmed he’s not going back to Pandora until the end of 2017. The original plan was to release the first Avatar sequel in 2016, with future installments to follow each ensuing year (at least three more Avatar movies are on the books, bringing the total to four). But, as is the nature of fantasy epics of this magnitude, the sequel has been pushed back to give the filmmakers more time to create a movie worthy of the first film.
A delay had actually been rumored for a while, so it should come as no surprise to earnest Pandora followers. At this point, Cameron has yet to deliver a shooting script to 20th Century Fox, prompting the studio to delay budgeting and other production work. The biggest obstacle is Cameron’s ambitions to shoot the three new movies simultaneously. Maybe he can get some pointers from Peter Jackson, who has plenty of trilogy experience.
“We’re not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that,” Cameron explained. “And parallel with that, we’re doing all the design. So we’ve designed all the creatures and environments.”
The first Avatar came out all the way back in 2009, so it will have been eight years (at minimum) before the first sequel hits theaters. If you’re a glass half-full kind of person, I suppose you can take solace in the fact that it’ll give Cameron and his crew more time to continue the fully realized world of Pandora.
And it’s not like we don’t have plenty of great movies to look forward to before then; Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming out in just a few months, while Star Wars: The Force Awakens is scheduled to hits theaters at the end of 2015.