Producer Jon Landau reported to the New Zealand Herald that the crew has “delayed it. We had plans to come down Friday night with a group of people and start back up and we made the decision to hold off and continue working here [Los Angeles], and come down there a little bit later than we’d planned.”
Landau can not predict when production in New Zealand will resume, although he reassured that they were reassessing their production schedule and examining the worldwide situation every day. He stated: “We try and monitor all this and look at things and think about what is in the best interest of our crew. I call it our Avatar family. That is really paramount to us above anything.”
In response to the production halting, he told the Herald that “We’re in the midst of a global crisis and this is not about the film industry. I think everybody needs to do now whatever we can do, as we say here, to flatten the [coronavirus] curve.”
The long-awaited sequels for the second-highest grossing 2009 movie Avatar are supposed to be completed by the end of 2020. The plan was to develop a total of four sequels simultaneously. Avatar 2 currently has a release date of December 21, 2021, Avatar 3 on December 2023, Avatar 4 on December 2025, and Avatar 5 on December 2027.
The confirmation of the delays are still up on in the air, as reported by a crew member contacted by the Herald. However, the production team has confirmed that crew members will not be laid off and are still committed to shooting in New Zealand, whenever that may be.
Since Tuesday, New Zealand had recorded 12 confirmed coronavirus cases and responded swiftly, requiring all travelers to the country, except for neighboring Pacific Island nations, to quarantine for 14 days.