What were you up to in 2010 – 11 years ago? How different everything was back then. We were still just getting used to having internet on our mobile phones, we were 10 years away from a global pandemic, and a certain film called Avatar was setting new records in terms of box office revenue. Everyone was talking about it, and everybody had seen it. James Cameron declared that he wanted to make more, despite losing the Oscar – he blamed it on the Academy not awarding this type of films anymore. Soon after that, he started talking about more than one Avatar sequel – Avatar 2 and 3 would be filmed back to back ‘very soon’, and Avatar 4 and 5 would release once every two years following the initial pair of sequels. The plans seemed huge, and imminent.
2010 me would be very surprised if he found out that in 2021 we still would have none of those sequels that Cameron promised so shortly after Avatar’s release. Although it had not exactly been a favourite of mine – I would often criticise the film in front of my classmates, who absolutely loved it – I was sure that Cameron was sitting on a goldmine, and it wouldn’t take too long until another instalment would see the light of day. But no, in the meantime, Christopher Nolan finished his Dark Knight trilogy, we witnessed the rise and fall of superhero ensable movies, but nothing even remotely reminiscent of blue people – apart from The Smurfs, that is.
Well, based on a couple of September 2020 statements by James Cameron himself, the time of the Avatar(s) is drawing near. In the end, it seems that he did stick to his initial idea of filming Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 back-to-back – after all, with so much CGI and a very complex set, this makes the most sense from a budget point of view. A few months ago, he mentioned that Avatar 2 was 100% complete, whereas Avatar 3 was about 95% complete. A Covid-induced delay of a couple of months was added to the initial 8-or-so years delay, but production was in the process of resuming. Apparently, Cameron had unwittingly been a visionary when he chose New Zealand as his filming location – due to its isolated island status and efficient policies, the coronavirus didn’t pose great problems in the end.
Now, just because Avatar 2 is finished doesn’t mean it will get its theatrical release too soon. Filmgoers will only be able to watch it in December 2022, almost two entire years from now, and a whooping 13 years after the first Avatar hit theatres, all the way back in 2009. Perhaps a wise marketing and box office move, since by then, all theatres will hopefully have reopened worldwide. And Cameron’s plans are to go ahead with at least another pair of sequels – as things stand, Avatar 3 will see the light of day in December 2024, whereas Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 will be released in December 2026 and December 2028 respectively. Based on previous promises, I’d recommend taking this with a grain of salt – but whenever 4 and 5 will be out, I hope they will have been well worth the wait.