It looks like after nearly eight years, it is really, truly, finally happening. Avatar 2 is actually going to start filming this year. According to a new report, shooting is scheduled to begin on Avatar 2 (as well as 3, 4 and 5) later this year which would mean that it may actually meet the December 2018 release date that is currently in place, but that still seems like a bit of a stretch.

According to an updated listing on My Entertainment World, Avatar 2 is now scheduled to begin filming on August 15. Though this isn't anything official from director James Cameron or Fox, My Entertainment World has become an increasingly reliable source for production information such as this. So it looks like we may finally be heading back to Pandora. Better late than never. Or at least that is what Fox is hoping.

James Cameron revealed last year that a big reason for the delay is that, when writing began, he realized there was a much larger story to tell. So large in fact, that there will now be a total of five Avatar movies when all is said and done. It is said that all four of the Avatar sequels are going to shoot at the same time, which means it is going to be a truly massive production process and likely a very expensive one. The director recently revealed that all of his scripts are finished and that they were expecting to start doing motion capture in August, so this new report gels with that. Here is what he had to say in an interview with the Daily Beast last month.

"The thing is, my focus isn't on Avatar 2. My focus is on Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5 equally. That's exactly how I'm approaching it. They've all been developed equally. I've just finished the script to Avatar 5. I'm now starting the process of active prep. I'll be working with the actors in the capture volume in August, so I'm booked in production every day between now and then. Our volume is up and running, and everything is designed, and so we're going full-guns right now. I feel like I've been let out of jail, because I've been in the writing cave for the last two years. I'm actually enjoying life. I don't enjoy writing. I wouldn't wish writing on a dog."

There have been a ton of false starts with Avatar 2 over the years, but it has remained clear that the movie would happen at some point. This time feels different, though. There seems to be some real traction and now that the scripts are done, there is no reason for the movies not to move forward. As it stands, Avatar is still by far the highest-grossing movie ever made, with a total take of $2.78 billion. Even if all four sequels only make a fraction of that, they will still be very successful movies.

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Story details for the Avatar sequels have largely been kept under wraps, but we know that Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang and Sam Worthington are all coming back for the sequels. James Cameron may even be able to crack the code on "glasses-free" 3D before the final Avatar movie is released, which would be pretty cool. As of right now, Avatar 2 is scheduled to hit theaters in December 2018, and the three sequels will follow in December of 2020, 2022 and 2023.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott