James Cameron's name is trending online once again (did it ever stop?), thanks to his original mega-blockbuster, Titanic, beginning a 3D theatrical re-release today (at the time of writing this). It's no shock then that journalists and news outlets are doing what they can to inquire about the upcoming sequels to the filmmaker's 3D sci-fi epic Avatar.
Titanic and Avatar franchise producer Jon Landau has also been touring the press junket circuit of late, offering tidbits of information about Avatar 2 - which he says had already begun its arduous effects-work process. However, Landau is also suggesting that the massive nature of the sequel may mean that its previously-planned Christmas 2014 theatrical release date is no longer feasible.
When Empire sat down recently with Landau to chat about the dual Avatar sequels (specifically, the second installment), the producer said:
"We're not naming dates, but I think 2014 will be a tough date for us to make [as far as releasing 'Avatar 2' in theaters goes]. It's about getting it right... Movies make release dates; release dates don't make movies."
Cameron long ago established himself as a filmmaker who doesn't cut corners or rush things, when it comes to the lensing process on his cinematic undertakings. Hence, there's no reason to doubt that the director and his massive production team will be working hard to ensure that the Avatar sequels look and sound fantastic - as opposed to putting in overtime hours in order to reach any sort of studio-desired deadline.
That's all to say: it's probably best to take Landau's comments here to mean that Avatar 2 probably won't arrive until 2015 at the earliest - regardless of 20th Century Fox's wishes to the contrary.
In addition to his release date comments, Landau once again addressed those longtime rumors that the majority of Avatar 2 will take place primarily in the oceans of Pandora:
"WETA are already working and we have our core team, [animation supervisor] Richie Baneham and [digital effects supervisor] Nolan Murtha, working with us. And we're working on underwater performance-capture... It's going to be like the Floating Mountains in the first movie. It's not going to be all underwater; [the Pandora ocean is] going to be a place we go to, leave and come back to."
Cameron's documented knowledge of Earth's oceans has informed his filmmaking craft in the past to positive effect (see: the underwater sequences in The Abyss). That is reason enough to suspect it should do likewise for the technological elements being utilized in order to properly realize Pandora's sea life in Avatar 2 (ie. 3D and motion-capture animation).
Most likely, those results will justify any (potential) extended wait for Avatar 2. We will of course continue to keep you up-to-date on the status of the sequel, in the meantime.