It’s been a while since we heard about Avatar. No, not that Avatar. I’m talking about James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi Pocahontas/Smurfs mashup that made all the other box-office contenders turn blue with envy. Cameron has indicated that he’ll be making nothing but movies based in this world for the rest of his career, with two Avatar films already set.
Seems that those are not going meet his giant blue cat-people quota though, as Cameron has now officially announced that a third Avatar sequel is also on the cards, and he’s hired a quartet of writers to help him pull it all off.
According to Collider, Cameron will still be employing the strategy of shooting all the sequels back to back and then releasing them a year apart, with Avatar now scheduled for December 2016 (as opposed to the original date of 2015), Avatar 3 in 2017 and the newly revealed final (for now) film to be released in 2018.
Helping Cameron to make all this happen will be the writing skills of Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles creator and War of the Worlds scribe Josh Friedman; married writing duo Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who penned Rise of the Planet of the Apes and are working on Coliin Treverrow’s Jurassic Park 4; and Shane Salerno, the young up-and-comer who wrote Oliver Stone’s Savages, and is working on his own soon-to-be directorial debut with a J.D. Salinger biopic.
Cameron had this to say about their employment and the addition of another film to the franchise.
“Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that Avatar’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I’m pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh — all writers I’ve long admired - to join me in completing the films screenplays.”
Collider notes that while not confirmed anywhere, it’s probably a safe bet that they will all be working on different sequels, based off of Cameron’s story ideas. With Jaffa, Silver and Salerno’s upcoming commitments, I’m going to guesstimate that Friedman will be first up to the plate to tackle Avatar 2.
I’m actually rather glad for this announcement, because for me it always felt as if we really don’t need to see this many Avatar movies. But with all these writers – people whose work I have enjoyed and more of whose efforts I’ll be happy to see – on board now, my initial fears that Cameron could be milking the world of Pandora dry is lessened – not completely erased – at the prospect of fresh ideas getting tossed in there now.
Avatar 2 will be the true neon, six-limbed litmus test though, because as amazingly detailed as the world of Pandora was in the first film, it certainly didn’t hint at a much more expansive mythology waiting to be explored.
Avatar 1 built a planet, now we wait until 2016 to see if Avatar 2 can build a world.