James Cameron is the type of filmmaker who will never shy away from taking on massive projects. Not only are his most recent works – Titanic and Avatar – still two of the highest grossing movies of all time, he’s also taken a few trips down to the deepest depths of the ocean during his downtime. He has a strong passion for his work, which has clearly paid off tenfold throughout his long career. But looking at what Cameron is currently doing – planning out four Avatar sequels – everything he’s done up until now almost seems minor in scale.
When it was announced that we would be getting four sequels to the original 2009 film, Cameron stated that it would be shot like “one big production.” Of course, that type of statement raises many questions with fans. Since the first sequel hits in 2018, fans are desperate for updates about what these films will actually be like. It was exciting when Cameron revealed that, along with the film sequels, there were also Avatar novels in the works.
While it may be a long time before we get plot details about the films, Cameron recently gave away a few details about the extensive writing process. Being a part of Comic-Con this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Aliens, Cameron spoke to Screen Rant about how close he was in finishing the four scripts. Having to scribe four huge films is no easy task, particularly if they are being done in quick succession.
I’m still writing. I finished Avatar 4 two days ago and Avatar 5 I need to do a polish on; it was written by another writer.
Luckily, Cameron does have a few other writers helping him in planning things all the way out to Avatar 5 in 2023. The director went on to discuss just how collaborative the writing process is, even though he still maintains a certain level of control. He revealed that there was a writer who did work on Avatar 4, then later gave Cameron “what he had.” This means that there weren’t issues with the other writer’s work, but rather the filmmaker simply wanted to maintain his own voice across the four projects.
But ultimately, I’ve done that across all four of them. We knew that going in. We treated it as a writing room at the beginning and then everyone fed me what they could and I wound up with a thousand pages or whatever it was and now I’m going through it.
It will be interesting to see how Cameron handles this epic production. It has been confirmed that many of the original cast members will be returning, with the most exciting one being Zoe Saldana reprising the character of Neytiri. And no matter how big or small their roles are in the sequels, it will be nice to see them back in Cameron’s fantastical world.
Avatar 2 is planned to open in theaters in December 2018, followed by Avatar 3 in December 2020, Avatar 4 in December 2022, and Avatar 5 in December 2023.