From the “I’ll believe it when I see it” Files comes word that James Cameron has actually started principal photography on his quartet of Avatar sequels. To commemorate the event, Cameron and studio Twentieth Century Fox released a picture of some of the cast members who are new to the franchise. So I guess we have to believe this is actually happening, right?
The seven newbies are all child actors, which perhaps suggests something of the tone or direction the sequels will be going in. Jamie Flanders, Britain Dalton and Trinity Bliss will be playing the three children that Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Sladana) have had since we last saw them in 2009’s Avatar. (Apparently they found a way to pass the time while Cameron was futzing around trying to get these sequels off the ground.) Bailey Bass, Filip Geljo and Duane Evans Jr will be playing three young members of the Metkayina Clan while Jack Champion plays a human from Hell’s Gate who prefers exploring the Pandorian rainforests.
Production on Cameron’s four planned Avatar sequels began on Monday. The director explained how the largely motion capture performance film was going to be shot to the Hollywood Reporter.
Avatar 2 and 3 will be captured together and then [go through postproduction] sequentially. Then we go back and capture 4 and 5. They’re all written and they’re all designed, so we literally hit the ground running the day after Avatar 3 comes out, starting capture on 4 and 5 and then post on those and release those. That’s the plan. So, it’s kind of a two-and-two structure.
Fox has a lot riding on this, giving Cameron a billion dollar budget for this quartet of films. It is a risky gamble considering the time that has elapsed since the release of Avatar and the lack of that film’s presence in current genre film conversation. Do people really want or even care about a series of new Avatar films? Cameron, and most likely Fox’s publicity department, have a lot of convincing to do.
Avatar 2 hits theaters December 18, 2020. Avatar 3 will follow in 2021 with 4 and 5 coming in 2024 and 2025.