That's a wrap! At long last, after many years of waiting, James Cameron has finished filming Avatar 2. That does not mean his journey with the franchise is over, not by a long shot, as he has three other sequels to complete. But after more than a decade, the first sequel is in the can and one step closer to becoming a reality.
James Cameron recently spoke with his friend and frequent collaborator Arnold Schwarzenegger for an interview on the actor's YouTube channel. During the conversation, Cameron spoke about the challenges that come with finishing live-action production in the current environment. Despite those challenges, the filmmaker confirmed that Avatar 2 has fully finished filming, with Avatar 3 nearing completion as well. Here's what he had to say about it.
"We lost about four and a half months of production. As a result of that, we've rolled around one more full year for a release in December of 2022. That's been announced already. Now that doesn't mean I have an extra year to finish the film, because the day we deliver Avatar 2 we'll just start working on finishing Avatar 3. So where we are right now, I'm down in New Zealand shooting. We're shooting the remainder of the live-action. We've got about ten percent left to go. We're a hundred percent complete on Avatar 2 and we're sort of ninety-five percent complete on Avatar 3. So we're very lucky in that we chose this as our production site years ago."
Filming on the blockbuster sequel was able to resume in June, with production taking place in New Zealand. James Cameron has shared several set photos during the course of filming, including a look at some new ships and an underwater vessel. Cameron and his crew previously spent months filming all of the underwater sequences that will be a big part of Avatar 2, and presumably the other sequels. The amount of underwater filming presented the filmmakers with new challenges that took time to sort out.
In total, Avatar is envisioned as a five-movie franchise. The reason it took so long to get the sequel going is that James Cameron wrote the scripts for all four sequels at once while planning production on multiple installments at once. Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang are returning from the original movie. Kate Winslet, David Thewlis, Michelle Yeoh, Jemaine Clement, Oona Chaplin, Edie Falco and Cliff Curtis are joining the cast of the sequels.
Disney, which inherited the franchise in the multi-billion dollar merger with Fox last year, has had to delay the release of Avatar 2 a couple of times already. The movie is currently set to arrive on December 16, 2022. Avatar 3 is scheduled for December 20, 2024, with Avatar 4 set to hit theaters on December 18, 2026, and Avatar 5 on December 22, 2028. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details are made available. You can check out the full interview via Arnold Schwarzenegger's YouTube channel.