James Cameron is one of the most successful directors of all time (arguably, the most successful if you look at just box office rankings). He’s been making movies since the early 1980’s, and he’s still going strong. He’s just become a bit restrictive in his output though. As Cameron mentioned a few years back when he first announced that he would be making a series of sequels to his 2009 box office record breaking Avatar, every story he still wanted to tell could all be done within the brightly coloured alien sci-fi world of Pandora. And he wasn’t kidding, as Cameron has now planed an additional four movies, releasing them all the way up to 2023.
He’s even involved himself in a live arena production from Cirque du Soleil which in a way acts as a prequel to Avatar – the production is named “Toruk”, after the dragon-like flying creatures in the movie. And chatting to Variety about “Toruk”, Cameron revealed that there were some elements from the the live production that would serve as inspiration for the upcoming movies.
“I love some of the costumes and hairstyles, so we might create a resonance there where you actually see some of the things that you see in ‘Toruk’ come into the design of the films. We’ve got most of the sequel stuff already designed, but I like this idea of weaving back and forth between the two worlds, the live world and the film world.”
Cameron does point out though that while there may be some connective tissue, “Toruk” is not meant to tie directly to the story of the Avatar sequels, which was already deep in development by the time the show was announced. He is willing to share a little bit about the film’s narrative though, indicating that this is going to be a family affair involving paraplegic soldier turned cloned Na’Vi Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and native Pandoran Na’Vi Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).
“The storyline in the sequels really follows Jake and Neytiri and their children. It’s more of a family saga about the struggle with the humans. But thematically, ‘Toruk’ manages to land very very closely to the feeling of where the sequel stories are going.”
But exactly when are we going to see this family saga play out? The Avatar sequels were of course first announced waaaaaaay back, and since then we’ve seen the release dates shift several times already. Avatar 2 is currently scheduled for December 25, 2018, but they may actually shift again. Or not. It really all just depends on how the production comes together in the end.
“We haven’t moved that target yet, but we will if we need to. The important thing for me is not when the first one comes out but the cadence of the release pattern. I want them to be released as close together as possible. If it’s an annual appointment to show up at Christmas, I want to make sure that we’re able to fulfill on that promise.”
Currently the franchise’s future release plans is not annual, with Avatar 3 set for 2020, Avatar 4 for 2022, and Avatar 5 for 2023. But with Cameron planning to shoot everything back to back as one massive production, he may just decide he needs a break somewhere in there and space it out a bit more. Or – heaven forbid – he breaks his winning streak and releases a movie that tanks at the box office and torpedoes all his plans. Highly unlikely, but the movie business is a fickle thing.
Last Updated: September 9, 2016