[Editor’s note: Apologies. It seems Craig was taking a hit of grandpa’s old cough medicine again. Star Wars: Episode VIII was of course delayed to December 2017, and not 2018. Sorry for the confusion this editorial mistake caused. We’ve changed the article below to now reflect the correct dates – Kervyn]
It looks like we’re going to miss out on a big box office wrestling match. We reported earlier this week that Star Wars Episode VIII has been delayed to December 2017 after initially being planned for release in the middle of the year. What was interesting was that this new date was around the same time that Avatar 2 was planning to be released.
But it seems as if the studios don’t want this titanic face-off – at least not directly – as The Wrap dropped the news that Avatar 2 has now also been delayed and although they are still not providing any firm releases dates, they are targeting summer of 2018. If that is true, then with Star Wars‘ very late 2017 start, 2018 is possibly going to see the two franchises vying for the biggest box office bragging rights. Star Wars should have this in the bag, as it has a much bigger legacy and loyal fan base, but if there is one thing James Cameron knows how to do, it is a box office sequel (Terminator 2: Judgment Day anyone). And with the first Avatar still currently the biggest box office film of all time, if anyone can take on Star Wars, it is this franchise.
Now the Avatar 2 delay should not be of a surprise to anyone, as the studio has never ever actually put a firm release date to the planned sequels (yes, sequels, plural). It has subsequently been “delayed” several times, with Cameron himself saying, that he date isn’t as important as “the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart.” So there may actually still not be a wrestling match, but we can certainly hope so.
However whenever Avatar 2 does hit, expect to see Avatar fever for three years in a row. How other studios respond to that, I am keen to see, especially considering the fact that Disney’s plans for annual releases of Star Wars and even more frequent Marvel movies, is bound to result in a clash with one of these popular franchises.
James Cameron is a famously fussy film maker, so it’s probably a good thing for 20th Century Fox to give him time and allow him to shoot the movie the way he wants to. As long as the wait is not as long as the 13 years it took to make the first Avatar from conception to release.
As for what the sequels will be about, all we know about Avatar 2 is that Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are reprising their lead roles, underwater performance capture technology will be used, and there’s a chance that Sigourney Weaver might be back in some capacity (despite her character having died). Otherwise, any story details are being kept under tight wraps.
So which side of the Force are you on with this one?
Last Updated: January 22, 2016