Last week, producer Jon Landau confirmed that Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 will be shot back-to-back, but Avatar 4 will not be included. Director James Cameron revealed that there are still plans for Avatar 4 in the works, and that it will be a prequel to Avatar.
"I have an idea for a fourth. I haven't really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na'vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world. Because when we drop in, even in the first film in Avatar 1, as it will be known in the future, we're dropping into a process that's 35 years in to a whole colonization. That will complete an arc and if that leads into more, we'll start, not imitating Star Wars, but it's a logical thing to do because we'll have completed the thematic arc by the end of three. The only thing left to do is go back to see what it was like on those first expeditions and create some new characters that then become legacy characters in later films. It's a plan."
The director also revealed he is currently working on the scripts for Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, which are targeted for release in December 2014 and December 2015. Here's what he had to say about his process of making the sequels a more cohesive working environment.
"We've spent two years refining the whole pipeline. It was a hideously complex process to make that film and a lot has been said about that, but we don't want it to be done in the same prototypical way as the first one, we want it to be a much smoother workflow just for creativity reasons."