Weta Digital begins work on Avatar sequels, Cameron teases further innovation
Fresh off of their latest triumphant work, War for the Planet of the Apes, Weta Digital has announced (via Variety) they’ve officially begun work on the upcoming four sequels to James Cameron’s Avatar.
“What Joe Letteri and Weta Digital bring to these stories is impossible to quantify,” Cameron said. “Since we made Avatar, Weta continued to prove themselves as doing the best CG animation, the most human, the most alive, the most photo-realistic effects in the world..and of course, that now means I can push them to take it even further.”
“The depth of talent at Weta is impressive and the culture of excellence is one that matches how we do things at Lightstorm,” producer Jon Landau added. “We also know that these next films promise to be even more ambitious than the first film.”
“Avatar is the ideal type of film for us,” said Letteri, Weta Digital’s senior visual effects supervisor. “Jim’s vision for the world of Pandora was always so much bigger than what we created for the first film. Helping him expand the language of cinema through new narratives set in such an expansive universe is the type of opportunity that rarely comes along twice. Projects like this allow everyone involved to push themselves to do their best work.”
“The excitement at Weta around Avatar is obvious and the fact is that we have already been working on it for a number of years,” said Weta Digital executive producer David Conley. “During that period we have grown the company to a size and model that allows us to expand beyond any one project. This enables us to find a mix of other films that can help us grow along with Avatar, as is the case with Alita: Battle Angel, Avengers: Infinity War and Mortal Engines, to name a few of the other films we are currently working on.”
Returning cast members for the sequels include Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver. Cliff Curtis and Oona Chaplin are also joining the sequels. The Avatar sequels will be produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau through their Lightstorm Entertainment. The James Cameron-directed sequels are written by Cameron along with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Josh Friedman, and Shane Salerno.
20th Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment recently announced new release dates for all four of the films via the official Avatar Facebook page, saying, “Great to be working with the best team in the business! Avatar takes flight as we begin concurrent production on four sequels. The journey continues December 18, 2020, December 17, 2021, December 20, 2024 and December 19, 2025!”
Released in 2009, the first Avatar film remains the highest-grossing film worldwide with over $2.7 billion in box office gross. It was dethroned by Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the highest at the domestic box office, pushing past Avatar‘s $760 million with a total of $936 million.