As long expect, we won't be getting the first Avatar sequel on its originally scheduled release date as promised. Due to the ambitious nature of the project, director James Cameron has pushed the movie back by a year, so that additional work can be done on the screenplay. We were supposed to see Avatar 2 hit screens Christmas 2016. Now, we won't see it until December of 2017, which sets up Avatar 3 for 2018 and Avatar 4 for 2019.
James Cameron claims that there was just still too much work to do not only on the screenplays, but also the simultaneous creation of the creatures, innovations in 3D, and everything else that comes along with making a sequel that people actually find interesting and worth their time. This now leaves a giant hole in the Christmas release plan for 2016. Its expected that other studios will soon jump in and fill the gap. About the delay, James Cameron stated:
"There's a layer of complexity in getting the story to work as a saga across three films that you don't get when you're making a stand-alone film."
James Cameron spoke from New Zealand, where he shot the original Avatar, and plans to shoot the sequels as well. 20th Century Fox is reportedly giving the director more time due to the amount of money they are pouring into the project. The hope is that James Cameron has the same game-changing impact that Peter Jackson did when he shot three Lord of the Rings and Hobbit sequels back-to-back.