Avatar may have taken its position in cinematic history as one of the most internationally successful movies of all-time but work on Avatar 2 has been very much a slow and gradual process. With the original film released way back in 2009, director James Cameron has only recently begun to reveal concrete details regarding the franchise's future, confirming that a total of four sequels are currently being planned for simultaneous filming, with the first set for release in December 2018. Cameron is also hoping to utilize glasses-free 3D technology for the quartet of new movies.
Although reliable plot details for Avatar 2-5 are scarce, it has been confirmed that despite her character dying in the first movie, Sigourney Weaver would be returning to Pandora. Whilst Cameron claims Weaver will be reprising her previous character, Grace Augustine, the actress herself states she'll be playing someone new. Regardless of which character Weaver will be playing however, it's a safe bet that the sci-fi legend will play an integral part in Avatar's future.
As such, Sigourney claims to have read three scripts so far in preparation for filming and in an interview with Variety, claims that the Avatar sequels will see a far greater scope that the first adventure. Weaver states:
"In my opinion, the three scripts I’ve read so far are many times more amazing than the first one in terms of their scope. He [James Cameron] did a lot of the heavy lifting in the first movie, establishing the family and the relationships and the world, and now he really gets to play."
Obviously, with the many delays and script revisions that have occurred so far, there is still plenty of time for the scripts Weaver has seen to change. But the news that James Cameron is looking to expand the scope of the Avatar world and in Sigourney's words, "get to play," is bound to prove exciting for fans of the original film who are keen to explore more of Polyphemus and the Alpha-Centauri system where the moon of Pandora is located.
Even Avatar's biggest detractors would struggle to deny that the film was a stunning achievement visually. That said, the movie did receive significant criticism for having a thin, basic plot and an obvious environmental message. Perhaps Cameron's attempts at an increased scope for his series of sequels indicate a shift towards a more involved and substantial narrative that will please those who found the original movie's storyline lacking and with most of the heavy world-building work out of the way, more time can be spent on interesting character and story arcs.
With that said, by the time Avatar 2 rolls around, it would have been almost a decade since the original. It could also even be argued that part of the draw of that first film was the newly-introduced 3D technology for which Avatar was the perfect movie to experience. With less momentum to build on, 3D declining in popularity and the prospect of four new movies in the series, Avatar's future is far from certain - but with perennial hit-maker James Cameron at the helm, it'll no doubt bring in the box office sales, regardless of fan and critic reaction.
As of this writing, Avatar 2 does not have an official release date. It is expected to premiere in December 2018.