It seems an age ago that Avatar made such a big splash at the box-office with James Cameron once again pushing the boundaries of technology to achieve his visions. It was actually 2009, so technically the industry probably has entered a new era since. The story of humanity’s impact on the planet of Pandora, where the indigenous aliens are fighting against Earth’s plans to strip-mine their resources (and the performance-capture tech and designs used to tell the tale) made an impression with audiences and though, ultimately, Avatar got mixed reviews from critics, Cameron himself is such a force of nature that it was not a total surprise that a sequel was announced. Then two sequels – which would shoot simultaneously – with possibly another two to follow, were formally agreed and so everyone sat back and waited to see what would happen.
And waited. And waited. Because you don’t rush James Cameron and if it means waiting for technology to catch up or to spend large sums inventing it yourself, so be it.
This week, Cameron finally announced that after a year of lensing, primary filming had finished on those next two chapters. However it will still be December 2020 before the first of them arrives on screens (the following one a year later) and we can all see if the director has upped his game once more. The ensemble cast will see the return of Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver and that Titanic star Kate Winslet is also on board. Though story details are scarce, we also know that the environmental themes of the original continue. Cameron is no stranger to water challenges (as well as Titanic and The Abyss, he also made the documentary Ghosts of the Abyss and invested a lot of his own money in udnersea exploration) and that a large part of the new continuing story is set on and under Pandora’s vast oceans, with Weaver recently noting that they had ‘free-diving’ training for the production.
In the meantime, as the official twitter feed notes, fans can ready themselves for Cameron’s next release which actually comes a lot sooner. The anime-inspired Alita: Battle Angel which is directed by another industry giant, Robert Rodriguez, was penned by Cameron and will be released in February…
James Cameron took a (very rare) break from filming on the performance capture stage to record a message to Avatar fans!
— Avatar (@officialavatar) November 13, 2018