“The second, third, and fourth films all go into production simultaneously,” he wrote. “They’re essentially all in pre-production now because we are designing creatures, settings, and characters that span all three films. And we should be finished with all three scripts within the next, I would say, six weeks.”
But Cameron, who penned the original Avatar screenplay, isn’t going it alone this time. Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Shane Salerno are collaborating with him on this massive undertaking.
“There’s always pressure, whether it’s a new film or whether it’s a sequel, to entertain and amaze an audience. I’ve felt that pressure my entire career, so there’s nothing new there,” Cameron added. “The biggest pressure I feel right now is cutting out things I love to get the film down to a length that is affordable. There hasn’t been a problem finding new and wonderful things to include in the movie.”
Production on Avatar 2 is slated to begin this fall. Principals Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Stephen Lang are returning for the sequels with hopes that the next films can be as successful as the 2009 original. Avatar grossed nearly $2.8 billion worldwide and won Oscars for cinematography, visual effects, and art direction. Cameron hopes to continue pushing creative and technological boundaries with the franchise.
“I believe all movies should be made in 3-D, forever, but the projection needs to be better and brighter,” he wrote during his AMA. “I want people to see in the movie theaters what I am seeing in my perfectly calibrated screening room and people aren’t seeing that. Larger formats. I’d love to see screens get bigger.”
The Avatar sequels are scheduled for release December 2016 through 2018.