Earlier this week it was announced that James Cameron had brought on writer Josh Friedman to help him whip up the screenplay for Avatar 2 into shape. It turns out that the director is hiring a team of writers to help work on the scripts for all the sequels he has planned to the 2009 blockbuster.
Studio Twentieth Century Fox has announced that in addition to Friedman, Cameron is also bringing on board Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Shane Salerno (Savages) to “help bring his growing Avatar universe to life.” Additionally, the studio confirmed that the projected release months for the films are December 2016 for Avatar 2, December 2017 for Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 following a year later.
And yes, you read that right, Avatar 4. Cameron did previously hint that there could be a fourth film in the works a while back, possibly being a prequel that charts how Pandora was first colonized by humans. It is not known if that is still the plan or if the film will go in another direction.
In a press release, Cameron commented –
Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that Avatar’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I’m pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh — all writers I’ve long admired - to join me in completing the films screenplays.
Interestingly, this will mark the first time that Cameron will share a writer’s credit on one of his films since 1994’s True Lies. (Although Avatar executive producer Laeta Kalogridis did some uncredited polishing on that film’s screenplay.) It makes me wonder if perhaps the job of bringing these films to the screen is possibly overwhelming Cameron a bit. And since they are all being worked on simultaneously, it points to the previously rumored possibility that all of the films will be shot back-to-back.