James Cameron says he's got so much material, both visually and in the scripts, that he's now planning to make four Avatar sequels instead of the previously planned three.
Each film will hit theaters at Christmas, the first in 2018. Then 2020, 2022 with the finale coming in 2023.
Cameron made the announcement Thursday during the 20th Century Fox panel at CinemaCon, the annual convention of exhibitors — who will be thrilled to get his must-see-3D films into their cineplexes — and Hollywood studios.
James Cameron at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on April 14.
His complete comments on the Avatar sequels here:
Just an update: I’ve been working the last couple years with a team of four top screenwriters and in parallel with some of the top artists and designers in the world to design the world of "Avatar" going forward. The characters, the creatures, the environments, the new cultures; everything it takes to bring that world to life. And so far, what I’m seeing in the artwork on the walls, the stuff that’s been developed, is, in pure imagination, really far beyond the first film. And the small handful of people who’ve seen it so far have been speechless. So I’m very excited about what these films are going to look like. It’s going to be a true epic saga that’s told in this rich and complex world. But – we’ve begun to bump up against the limitations of our art form. There’s just too much story, and too many great visual ideas for two sequels. So we talked to Fox and we expanded it to three sequels. And then as the writing process has continued, and now that the script work is finishing up, it’s not three.
It looks like it’s four.
So after talking it through, with our partners at Fox and giving it a lot of thought, we’ve decided with our partners to create a truly massive cinematic project, making four epic films, each one of which stands alone, but which together form a complete saga. And trust me, these are movies that were designed to be seen on the big screen in theaters first.So our goal right now is to "Avatar 2" in Christmas of ’18, and Christmas of ’20, Christmas of ’22 and Christmas of ’23. That’s our game plan.
So now as you can imagine, I need to get my ass back to LA to get back to writing, and the next time I se you will be on Pandora.It's surely no coincidence that the Christmases that Fox and Cameron have chosen for this cinematic megalith steer clear of Disney's plans for its Star Wars sequels:
At the end of the presentation, several images — presumably a sampling of the "art on the walls" that Cameron was referencing — were flashed on screen, including near-kaiju-sized creatures, equally enormous spacecraft-slash-watercraft and several Avatar creatures, both familiar and unfamiliar.