Ah, the Avatar sequels – the continuously-delayed, but still in-development tetralogy of follow-ups to the highest-grossing movie of all time (that has left a considerably smaller footprint in popular culture than that accomplishment would suggest). It might seem like taking 11 years (should the planned December 2020 release date for Avatar 2 come to pass) to come up with another movie may diminish interest in a sequel, but director James Cameron says he isn’t worried.
At Disney’s grand opening of Disney World’s Pandora: The World of Avatar expansion at Animal Kingdom, Cameron revealed the reason why he’s not too concerned about Avatar 2 taking so long to make: because this is nothing new for him as a director. In an interview with CNN, Cameron cites his previous work with franchises as an example of how audiences will keep coming to theaters if they’re given compelling visuals and an interesting story.
“It was a seven-year gap between The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, seven year gap between Alien and Aliens. It’s gonna be obviously more like a ten year gap between Avatar and Avatar 2. But Avatar 2 you are going to with not the promise, but the certainty of three more films beyond that, and that’s a very different concept with the audience. And a lot of the delay has been around creating that overall vision.”
Thus far, the Pandora-themed expansion to Animal Kingdom has done well, boosting park attendance significantly, so perhaps Cameron’s confidence that his Avatar sequel could do similarly well may not be completely unfounded. That being said, the story is one aspect that the Avatar sequels absolutely must improve upon in order for the series to survive as a franchise, since the bare-bones story that featured a mix of elements seen in Ferngully, Pocahontas, and Dances With Wolves, are the most criticized thing about the movie – and might be a big part of why interest in the franchise is relatively tepid compared to other big-budget sci-fi series. On another note, it’s interesting to see that Cameron just hinted that the movie might be released in 2019 after all, after it was previously stated that Avatar 2 would be coming out in 2020 – perhaps the confirmation that Star Wars Episode IX will be a May 2019 movie has given Cameron the confidence to release his movie in the December of that year.
Four Avatar sequels are planned for release in the Decembers of 2020, 2021, 2024, and 2025.