Avatar 2 Director James Cameron Confirms Release and Shooting Date

We just had a major Star Wars film drop, with yet another one to fall at the same time next year, but why did Star Wars: Episode VIII shift its release pattern back to summer 2017? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that James Cameron is carrying the big stick that Christmas with the release of Avatar 2, which he re-confirmed to the Montreal Gazette along with when digital cameras start rolling on the first in a trilogy of sequels.

“Christmas of ’17 is the target,” Cameron confirmed of the expected release of Avatar 2. “At least, that’s what we’ve announced. But I don’t consider that to be as important as the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart. I call it a meta-narrative that runs across the three movies. Each film stands alone, but it also tells one much larger story. We have design more or less finished, which is an enormous task. It’s been about a two-year task. (We’ve finished) all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds within the world of Pandora that you see. The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So we’re really poised to start after the first of the year.”

So there you have it… or do we? Word came at the beginning of this year that Avatar 2 had been delayed from December 2016 to December 2017 for further script development, a luxury J.J. Abrams did NOT have on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which Disney insisted come out within the 2015 calendar despite protestations by the filmmakers. Now that the ever-story-conscious Cameron has had his development cushion, he should be all primed to deliver more Na’vi excitement as promised… except this is JAMES CAMERON we’re talking about, the guy who forced 20th Century Fox to (expensively) shift the summer release dates on both Titanic and the first Avatar to December slots when he decided the films just weren’t ready. Granted, no one at the studio was complaining once the grosses came in, but Cameron is a perfectionist. When he says he’s more concerned with the new trilogy dropping a year apart, that could mean a global shift to summer 2018, 2019 and 2020 for all three films if he feels like Part 2 needs more time to bake. 

Confirmed to feature the return of cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver, Avatar 2 and two additional Avatar sequels will be produced by Cameron and Jon Landau through their Lightstorm Entertainment. The sequels are currently being written by Cameron along with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Josh Friedman, and Shane Salerno.

The original 2009 Avatar remains the top grossing movie of all time with $2.782 billion at the worldwide box office.

The Avatar sequels aren’t the only chance fans will have to return to the world of Pandora. There’s an Avatar Land headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2017, while Dark Horse Comics will soon begin publishing officially licensed Avatar stories.