According to a report in the New York Times, 20th Century Fox has a lot riding on the three back-to-back Avatar sequels currently in production. This is especially true considering the first movie is the biggest blockbuster of all time. James Cameron has finally promises the studio that the first screenplay will be ready within weeks, and he has officially confirmed the sequel writer roles, which explains who is writing which sequel.
The list breaks down as such:
James Cameron hired these four writers because he knew he couldn't take on this insurmountable task by himself. Working in a writers' room not unlike that of your average TV show, the group sat for five months, eight hours a day, figuring out the arc behind these three upcoming adventures which continue the story of 2009's Avatar. It wasn't until the end of this process that the director decided exactly who was going to write which screenplay.
This new report differs from what we've heard in the past. Josh Friedman was originally thought to be writing Avatar 2, with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver assigned to Avatar 3. The New York Times sets the record straight, and also reveals that writer Steven Gould has been involved with the entire process and has been tasked with writing the novelizations for each movie.
With the first screenplay to be turned in soon, we can expect that James Cameron will begin shooting the live-action portions of Avatar 2 either this fall or at least by winter. The film is expected in theaters December of 2016.
Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are a husband and wife team best known for their work on Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Josh Friedman was the showrunner on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Shane Salerno is a long-time collaborator of Oliver Stone.
The Avatar sequels will feature an ocean world component and when all is said and done, the production cost on all three sequels will be a little less than a billion dollars. The movies can't be completely budgeted until the screenplays are turned into the studio. The Avatar universe is being set up so that it cane be realized over a twenty year span of time in various different media.
"Jim first and foremost in life is an explorer, and it's what he does in his movies. We decided to build out the breadth of our world - whether or not it's in one of the films - now. This is not about any one medium."
""It's the story of their life together."
The only concern now is if James Cameron can actually make his December 2016 release date, as his last two movies for 20th Century Fox, Titanic and Avatar, arrived in theaters several months after they were originally scheduled for release.