Production for the highly anticipated Avatar sequels is moving a step closer after director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau arrived in Wellington, New Zealand on Sunday morning. The duo had been filming live action elements of the Avatar sequels before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
This is an exciting step as production has been halted in mid-March when New Zealand largely closed its borders and entered into strict lockdown.
However, filming will not start immediately. The crew has no exceptions; the inbound travelers will be subjected to the designated 14 day quarantine period.
Around 54 passengers reportedly were taking the chartered Air New Zealand plane, departing Friday night from LAX and flying for nearly 13 hours to Wellington.
New Zealand borders are still officially closed. The country had allowed Cameron, Landau and the foreign crew team in because of the border exemption clause for foreigners considered of “significant economic value.” This makes sense for a hugely successful franchise like Avatar. The country had endorsed COVID-19 safety procedures for film and TV productions, and had given the films substantial money available under New Zealand’s location subsidy scheme for large-scale foreign films. In addition, the scale for the films will be large, covering all of the second and third films in the series and half of the fourth, as well as the indoor facilities for the whole series.
Some local productions have restarted in the country, with no vaccines yet but with coronavirus cases declining significantly. With Cameron back, Avatar is set to be a global revolution once again as the first foreign movie to use New Zealand’s production protocols.
Landau had announced the news on Instagram, posting pictures of the duo sporting face masks and protective visors at the Wellington International Airport. He captioned, ‘”Made it to New Zealand. Our 14-day government supervised self-isolation now begins.”
Avatar 2 is expected to release by Disney on December 17, 2021. No word about it being pushed back due to the hiatus has been announced yet.