In 2009, James Cameron’s “Avatar” became a worldwide phenomenon as the film became the first in history to top $2 billion in the box office. Since then, many have been on the edge of their seats for any new information about the series that Cameron confirmed would have sequels. With the upcoming Avatar themed area in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, many fans have been curious about whether or not the public will care when the land opens up, simply because it has been six years since the film was in theaters. After an interview with the Montreal Gazette, James Cameron confirmed that “Avatar 2” is looking to be in theaters by Christmas of 2017.
This is obviously good news for the franchise, as it has felt like eternity since real news has surfaced. While Cameron has discussed the writing duties on the upcoming trilogy, he has remained relatively quiet about the progress. However, in the interview he does begin to give us information, and apparently the film is much further into production than previously thought. As he explains:
“We have design more or less finished, which is an enormous task. It’s been about a two-year task. (We’ve finished) all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds within the world of Pandora that you see. The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So we’re really poised to start after the first of the year.”
That also puts a potential start time for the film as early as January or February of 2016. If that is the case, the film should be in a good position to hit theaters by the holidays of 2017. The first film took over a decade for Cameron to bring to the big screen, and considering that he is a very picky director, it is not surprising that he has not had a follow up to the series yet. In fact, “Avatar” was the first theatrical non-documentary release after “Titanic” in 1997. That track record is hard to ignore, making Cameron’s films events for most audiences.
On the other hand, it is hard to ignore the fact that “Avatar” was a unique phenomenon in many ways. While 3D was once seen as a gimmick, it is now commonplace, namely due to “Avatar.” Second, special effects have come a long way in the last six years, making it interesting to see how much Cameron’s effects teams have evolved. Finally, the mere fact that three more films may be coming may turn some fans off. At the time, “Avatar” felt like the audience’s only chance to go to Pandora. If we know that we will have to revisit in a year to complete the story, fans may not feel the need to see the film more than one or two times.
Still, between Cameron’s track record and the pure spectacle of the first film, there is little doubt that audiences will show up for his latest offering. It’ll be interesting to see how audiences react when the new features are released, but hopefully we’ll be welcomed back into the world of Pandora.
There is still no official release date for “Avatar 2.” It will be directed by James Cameron and stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang.