For fans of James Cameron’s Oscar-winning sci-fi epic Avatar, the wait for the planned followups has been interminable. Always the perfectionist, Cameron is taking his time developing the projects, as he plans to film four installments in one massive undertaking. Fortunately, Avatar 2 is finally taking some steps forward. The plan is for production on the sequel to begin this summer, but Fox has yet to officially confirm a release date. Many are wondering when the world of Pandora will return to the big screen.

A December 2018 premiere was tentatively penciled in a while back, but as Avatar 2 slowly made its way through pre-production, even star Sigourney Weaver felt that window was out of reach. As it turns out, the actress was right, and Cameron has now admitted that the first Avatar sequel will definitely not come out next year.

In an interview with The Star, Cameron was asked about when the moviegoing public would be able to see what he has in store. The director doesn’t offer anything concrete, but it doesn’t appear as if the movie is right around the corner:

Well, 2018 is not happening. We haven’t announced a firm release date. What people have to understand is that this is a cadence of releases. So we’re not making Avatar 2. We’re making Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5. It’s an epic undertaking. It’s not unlike building the Three Gorges dam. (Laughs) So I know where I’m going to be for the next eight years of my life. It’s not an unreasonable time frame if you think about it. It took us four-and-a-half years to make one movie and now we’re making four.

James Cameron Avatar1 Avatar 2 Isnt Hitting Theaters In 2018

Most Hollywood tentpoles can go from filming to premiere in a little over a year (see: Lucasfilm’s Han Solo spinoff movie), but Avatar is a beast of its own. Because of the extensive use of digital effects, it’s expected the sequels will have lengthy post-production processes in order to get everything up to Cameron’s high standards. As a comparison, the original movie started filming in April 2007, but did not hit theaters until December 2009. Even with technology more advanced today than it was a decade ago, it’s still going to take quite a bit of time to get everything up to par. Depending on the production timeline, it’s possible Avatar 2 could be released in 2019, coinciding with the first film’s 10th anniversary. However, if they’re making four movies, there’s no telling when they’ll be ready.

As frustrating as this may be for viewers eager to go back to Pandora, this is probably for the best. Avatar is the biggest box office hit of all-time, grossing $2.7 billion worldwide during its theatrical run. There will be a lot of expectations for the sequels, and it would be a shame if Cameron rushed something simply to meet a pre-determined release date. Franchises are all over the film industry these days, and it’s important to stand out from the crowd and deliver an awe-inspiring experience, which is Cameron’s goal. And for those hungry for more Avatar content, there is a theme park and video game to look forward to and help pass the time.

We’ll keep you updated on Avatar 2 as more information becomes available.

Source: The Star

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