It has been six years since James Cameron’s Avatar set a new standard for cinematic 3D technology and blew up the box office by raking in over 2.7 billion dollars in revenue. Cameron has been fairly silent since then, perhaps due to the pressures of following up a movie so massively successful, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy on Avatar 2.
Back in October, Cameron announced a series of tie-in comics from Dark Horse, a pretty sure indication that he was still at work on expanding the Avatar universe. What fans really want to know, though, is how the movie sequel is coming along, and now Cameron has offered an update on that too.
“I’m in the process of doing another pass through all three scripts right now. Just refining. That’s in parallel with the design process. The design process is very mature at this point. We’ve been designing for about a year and a half. All the characters, settings and creatures are all pretty much [set].”
Cameron also spoke about the difficulty of following up one of the most successful films of all time, a feat he acknowledged brings with it certain pressures:
“Obviously, expectations are going to be very high on these films, especially on Avatar 2, to make sure it wasn’t just some big fluke the first time. So we’ve got to deliver. I’ve created a nice rod for my own back, so they say.”
It’s no secret that James Cameron is a perfectionist when it comes to his films, and with three sequels in development at the same time rather than just one, it makes sense that it has taken this long to follow up the original film. In the intervening years, though, 3D technology has become ubiquitous for big-budget movies, and much of what made the original Avatar novel is now not so novel anymore. Cameron seems to be hoping that shooting in 48 FPS will bring the technology of his movies forward, but the film industry has largely cooled toward 48 FPS after it failed to make a positive impression with Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit.
If anyone can push 3D movies forward, though, it is certainly Cameron. After all, before Avatar came along, there was a lot of skepticism towards 3D technology in movies. Afterwards, not so much. He is also pinning some of his hopes on the strength of the scripts, promising that the story will make you “s— yourself with your mouth wide open.” Will he succeed in following up the enormous success of the first film with the three to follow?
Avatar 2 is expected to hit theaters in December 2017, followed by Avatar 3 in late 2018 and Avatar 4 in 2019.