James Cameron’s AVATAR Universe Expands to Three Sequels

20th Century Fox announced James Cameron’s AVATAR will expand to three sequels, and writers were hired to collaborate with Cameron on the films.  Plans are for AVATAR 2, 3, and 4 to open in theaters December 2016, 2017, and 2018.  In 2011, Disney announced a partnership with Fox and Cameron to bring AVATAR to life at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, and construction is set to begin this year with the moving of the Festival of the Lion King theater.  Continue reading for more details regarding James Cameron’s AVATAR films.

James Cameron AVATAR

James Cameron, award-winning director of AVATAR, shares his vision for creating AVATAR themed lands at Disney parks, beginning with Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida. © Disney. All Rights Reserved

From 20th Century Fox’ Press Release

Update October 19, 2013

Variety reports from an interview with star Sam Worthington that the three Avatar sequels will begin filming one year from now – October 2014.  They also report that James Cameron has already written the script for the films, and the screenwriters (mentioned August 22 below) were brought on for “polishing.”

AVATAR-Inspired Land Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

© Disney. All Rights Reserved

From Sam Worthington…

“We are going to start this time next year and we will do two, three and four,” he told Australia radio station NovaFM. “In one shot, we’ll do them simultaneously. I’ll be grateful if it finishes.”

On October 12, Disney released the first artwork and details for Avatar Land to be built in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, and scheduled to open in 2017.  Click here for details of Avatar Land.

Update August 22, 2013

Steven Gould

Science Fiction Writer Steven Gould SCGatNebs.jpg

Filmmaker James Cameron has tapped noted science fiction author Steven Charles Gould (Jumper) to write four stand-alone novels based upon – and expanding – Cameron’s history-making 2009 film Avatar, and Cameron’s stories for his three upcoming Avatar sequels.

Cameron commented, “Steven Gould is one of the shining lights in contemporary science fiction, and I’ve long admired the worlds and characters he’s created in his books and stories.  We’re very fortunate to have Steven bring his formidable talents to the Avatar universe.  He is already working closely with me and the screenwriters to flesh out the expanding world of Avatar.”

While Gould is best known for his 1992 novel Jumper, which Twentieth Century Fox and New Regency turned into a motion picture in 2008, he has been acclaimed for his short fiction, including his Hugo Award-nominated short story “Rory,” and the novelette “Peaches for Mad Molly.”  The latter was also on the shortlist for the Nebula Award.  His other novels include Wildside, the Jumper sequel Reflex, 7th Sigma, and Impulse.  He is president of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Kathy Franklin, Lightstorm Entertainment’s President of Franchise Development, noted, “The novels are just one example of our commitment to our fans to extend the world of Avatar, in this instance in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products.”

Cameron also is currently writing the screenplays for the three new Avatar pictures, along with screenwriters Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planets of the Apes) and Shane Salerno (Savages, Salinger).

The sequels will be filmed back-to-back with production beginning next year.  The release of the first sequel will be in December 2016, with the second to follow in December 2017, and the third a year later.

Original article from August 2 follows below…

Marking a significant expansion of his already ambitious plans for the much-anticipated AVATAR sequels, Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron announced today that the films have grown in number from two to three.

Additionally, to help bring his growing AVATAR universe to life and to expedite the process, Cameron has hired screenwriters Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planets of the Apes), and Shane Salerno (Savages, Salinger) to collaborate with him on the screenplays for the three films.

The three pictures will be filmed simultaneously with production beginning next year.  The release of the first sequel will be in December 2016, with the second to follow in December 2017, and the third a year later.  AVATAR 2, 3, and 4 will be produced by Cameron and Jon Landau through their Lightstorm Entertainment banner.  Like the original film, Lightstorm will work with Joe Letteri and his team at WETA Digital to realize the worlds of the sequels.

Commented Cameron: “Building upon the world we created with AVATAR has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience.  In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that AVATAR’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen.  And to help me continue to expand this universe, I’m pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh — all writers I’ve long admired -­ to join me in completing the films screenplays.”

Commented 20th Century Fox chairman and CEO, Jim Gianopulos: “We at the studio have no higher priority, and can feel no greater joy, than enabling Jim to continue and expand his vision of the world of AVATAR.  The growing breadth and scale of Jim Cameron’s plans for his magnificent fantasy worlds continue to amaze us all.”

AVATAR is the highest grossing film of all time, and is also the top-selling Blu-ray disc of all time.  The film won Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Director; and was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won Oscars for art direction, visual effects and cinematography.

AVATAR was written by Cameron from an idea he nurtured for over a decade, while working on the technology necessary to realize its wholly imagined world.  Working with WETA Digital, Cameron created a fully immersive 3D cinematic experience of a new kind, where revolutionary technology that was invented to make the film disappeared into the emotion of the characters and the epic nature of the story.

The three AVATAR sequels will mark Cameron’s latest collaborations with 20th Century Fox, a relationship that spans nearly 30 years and marks one of the most successful filmmaker-studio alliances in motion picture history.  Cameron and Fox first joined forces in 1985 for Aliens, which became a sci-fi classic.  Next came The Abyss, which revolutionized visual effects technology; then came the blockbuster, True Lies.  In 1996, Fox greenlighted Cameron’s Titanic, which became the most successful film in history, and won a record-breaking eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.