James Cameron Offers ‘Avatar’ Sequel Update; Could Shoot in HFR

Published 1 year ago by , Updated February 18th, 2014 at 10:31 am,

avatar sequels new zealand James Cameron Offers Avatar Sequel Update; Could Shoot in HFR

There’s still a long time to wait before James Cameron’s three Avatar sequels hit theaters. The current timeline set is for the films to shoot back-to-back-to-back beginning this fall and for each of the sequels to premiere in December of 2016, 2017 and 2018.

With a giant, seven-year gap between the original Avatar and its first sequel, tentatively called Avatar 2 (though don’t expect that to be the actual title), can Cameron maintain audience interest in Pandora and the Na’vi until 2016 rolls around? To keep fans clamoring for more time spent on the picturesque planet, the director has been offering small bites of development info – to preserve excitement during the multiple-year wait time.

To that end, Cameron recently spoke with RTL (thanks to Coming Soon for the transcription) to talk about some of the latest developments. According to the director, most of the pre-production work has been going into software development and character design:

“We’re still in the early stages. Right now we’re developing the software. I’m writing the scripts. We’re designing all the creatures and characters and the settings, and so on. So I’m not actually directing yet, but I’m doing all the other creative processes that lead up to that.”

Story wise, Cameron had previously stated that the second and third installments would complete a three-film storyline that he had originally envisioned and that the fourth film would be a prequel to the original. But with so many complaints about Avatar‘s uninspired storytelling, the director knows that he has to step up his game. Thankfully it looks like the Avatar 2 script will get a second set of eyes, with a rewrite from The Sarah Connor Chronicles creator, Josh Friedman. Hopefully the sequels’ stories will be given just as much thought as the technology.

“That’s the great thing about ‘Avatar. It’s such a rich world, I can explore any theme or any idea that I want. Once you’ve got the characters that an audience loves, it’s great to surprise them and make changes and turns that they don’t expect. And you don’t have to spend so much of the movie setting up all that stuff because the audience will remember from the previous film.”

Avatar Novels James Cameron Offers Avatar Sequel Update; Could Shoot in HFR

As for technological developments, a New Zealand shoot may not be the only thing that Cameron is inheriting from Peter Jackson, he also mentioned the possibility of using the controversial high frame rate popularized by Jackson’s The Hobbit and its sequels.

“We’re looking at high frame rate. I’m studying that. I haven’t made a final decision yet, whether the entire film will be made at a high frame rate or only parts of it. You know we’ll be shooting at a native resolution of probably 4K and so there should be a lot of true 4K theaters by then as well.”

Many thought that 48 frames-per-second rate utilized by Jackson made the The Hobbit look too realistic, and added an almost soap opera-like quality to the film. After a few tweaks, audiences reacted better to The Desolation of Smaug, so the technology is no doubt improving. If the Avatar sequels can take advantage of both 4K 3D technology as well as an improved HFR system, we could be in for a serious visual treat. That is, of course, if all goes as planned.

“It’s going very well. I think it’s going to be spectacular. The first film took almost four years to make. We expect to be able to accelerate the process quite a bit, because we’ve improved a lot of the software and the computer graphics tools, and we’ve been working very closely with Weta Digital down here in New Zealand developing a whole new suite of tools to speed up the process.”

It’s good that Cameron is so optimistic but, as we all know, the sequels have already been pushed back quite a few times. Hopefully, now that the ball is rolling – the director can stick to current schedule.


Avatar 2 has a projected December 2016 release, with Avatar 3 planned for December 2017, and Avatar 4 in December 2018.

Source: RTL (via Market Saw and Coming Soon)

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  1. I throughly enjoyed Avatar. Yes…I went for the technology of the film, and really didn’t mind it being a rehash of Disney’s pocohontas, and Dances with Wolves. After seeing Avatar, I wish someone would employ the same tech and bring us the long overdue Thundercats movie. As long as Micheal bay doesn’t touch it. ( eventhough he excels at action, sans story telling)

    • Pocahontas meets Dances With Wolves meets Ferngully

      • Forgot about ferngully…thanks for the remind.

      • Haha. You know what else reminded me of a Ferngully remake? Epic.

        • Me, too. That’s about the only thing I can think of that explains the existence of Epic. Such an odd story/film.

    • Michael Bay doesn’t tell the stories, bro; his writers do.

  2. The first Avatar was great visually on IMAX 3D.
    I’ve seen the Hobbit in 48 frame rate and let’s just say I have my own reservations about it. But that’s just my personal,opinion.
    Can’t wait to see the ‘Waterworld’ Cameron gonna create next.

    • And after cameron introduces the water tech…we may finally get a Aquaman and Namor movie. Here’s hoping.

      • Well he does make an epic Aquaman movie in his Entourage cameo!

  3. At this rate.. James Cameron better be planning on making the greatest film in the history of ever or it will all amount to just massive disappointment.

  4. Casey – are you sure he’s trying to “persevere excitement”?…
    Jus’ askin’…

  5. I actually think the HFR is FAR WORSE in Smaug than Journey. I think it will work for Avatar though.

    • Agreed.

  6. They really need to let that HFR thing go, don’t they understand that? Jackson certainly wasn’t the first guy who had the idea to increase the frame rate of movies, but there is a reason why no one implemented that plan before. It looks like crap!

    My Rebel T3i can shoot in 50fps as well, but I only ever use that in order to shoot slow motion by halfing the framerate in post. Why? Well, because the high frame rate looks like crap, regardless of what shutter speed I use. That’s no different on high end movie cameras. Framerate is framerate and shutter speed is shutter speed.

    • p.s.: Oh, and the idea of possibly only using HFR in parts of the movie is even worse. Aren’t those jumps in aspect ratio jarring enough already that they try to force on us in multiple home releases? Now they want to draw attention to changing framerates as well? Why? It doesn’t make a movie better one bit, and a changing aspect ratio and framerate would be distracting as hell. They really should stop smoking weed over there!

      • Really looking forward to these films,I don’t give a damn about the frame rate as long as the story is great. I prefer film but you have to admire the colour popping imagery of Avatar.

    • They really need to make more films in HFR. Why? Because all that motion blur and judder looks like crap.

      These films especially will benefit from HFR.

      VFR (variable frame rate) might be an interesting idea though, since the action and outdoor panning scenes really benefit from HFR, and most people who don’t like it feel that way because of the slow/dialogue scenes, which don’t need HFR as much, appearing “too real” (since when did you ever see action or scenic shots in soap operas?).

      • No, I don’t like it especially in scenes with fast motion. Using HFR in scenes like that specifically would be a catastrophe for my enjoyment of movies. If HFR should ever take off, I would stop going to the movies. I’m not even kidding.

        • Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

          But even if HFR got more popular, you’d likely still have the option of LFR, like how with most movies there’s a 2D option as well as 3D.

  7. One of Cameron’s strength is doing sequels, so I believe the Avatars to come will be tremendously entertaining.
    This article states that Cameron hired Sarah Oconnor’s writer, but he actually hired 3 writers to do one script each (based on James’ screenplay) This is the first time James seeks help on what it’s concidered his weakness in moviemaking. He even hired an extra guy to do the novelization of these works.
    The film rate debate it’s just eye candy, and the frosting on the cake, some people say. But actually is the beginning of the next big thing in movie industry. Black and white to color. Silent to sound. Stereo to THX…and so on. One thing that remins constant and most important is the story.
    I have great hope this coming trilogy will revolutionize the film industry. Total production cost: $1billion. I’m sure Fox will get that money back with Avatar 2. The next and last film will be just profit.

    I understand we could get an Avatar overdose, but watching a film per year will ease its consumption.
    For those trashing Cameron and his imperfect litle movies, and the hard work he puts into everything he does, try Michael Bay.

  8. I really hope… really hope that JC just makes avatar 2.. and be done w/ it (just like Terminator series).
    I never like back to back filming… never mind back to back to back… JC was never about saving money while making movies anyway.

    He’s all about being pioneer.. breaking the unthinkingable grounds….. that’s why his movies are events… back to back movies? Not so much..

    No doubt avatar 2 will clean the shop…. No matter what the movie turns out.. but still.. I want my Creative Cameron back. Not this matrix 2/3 style shooting .. Hope it does not follow that.(matrix 2/3 stayed w/in it’s own matrix).

  9. Al I really got from that article was blah blah blah really cool technology blah blah blah story not up to scratch at all blah blah blah re-writes needed blah blah blah don’t hold your breath for a production start date…. So pretty standard then in terms of the Avatar sequels.. Why is James Cameron spending so much time on this when in hoping to out-do the highest grossest most disappointing film of all time all he will be able to manage is further disappointment three times over consecutively with diminishing returns?

  10. Does anyone give a toss anymore? Seriously the first film was all effects and a worse version of Pocahontas and I don’t even like Pocahontas that much but I liked it better than Avatar. Wait how can they do Avatar 2, 3 and 4 back to back when Zoe Saldana is now in a new [and most likely better] franchise with Guardians of the Galaxy and will probably be in The Avengers 3 as I’d say The Guardians come to Earth with Thanos and fight alongside The Avengers to stop Thanos.

  11. Amazing movie and storytelling. One of a kind. I don’t know about anyone else but I’ve never seen a movie like it. The movie had to be all effects. How else would you make it. Some have mentioned Pocahontas and yea I can see that but the bigger picture is man vs nature and the amazing connection the natives had with it. The human race always wants to destroy. Can’t wait for the others to come out.