Weíve seen a lot of absolutely gigantic blockbusters over the last five years, from the record-shattering performance of Joss Whedonís The Avengers to Michael Bayís summer hit Transformers: Dark of the Moon to Christopher Nolanís Batman finale The Dark Knight Rises, but none of them have been able to come anywhere close to the high bar set by James Cameronís Avatar. Released in December 2009, the film continues to hold the record as the highest-grossing movie of all time, pulling in $2.782 billion worldwide. We have been patiently waiting for sequels to arrive ever since, and while the filmmaking team behind the franchise has been taking its time, they have some absolutely gigantic plans for the future.
Just like weíve done for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Batman vs. Superman, and many other major upcoming blockbuster movies, we have put together a special guide to help all of you keep track of the latest developments of Avatar 2 and beyond. Who from the cast of the first movie is coming back? Where will the new story take us? Read on to find out!
The first Avatar was truly a passion project for James Cameron, as the filmmaker spent years and years developing both the script and the technological advancements that needed to be made, so you didnít really expect him to hand off the sequels to someone else, did you? Cameron will be coming back for not just Avatar 2, but for 3 and 4 as well. He has some big plans for the technology side of things, and has talked about both filming at higher frame rates using performance capture underwater. You can be sure that Avatar 2 will push the boundaries of what can be accomplished in modern filmmaking.
James Cameron was the lone-credited screenwriter on the first Avatar movie, but for the three sequels he has brought in a full team of collaborators who have helped him break down all three upcoming chapters of the franchise. Josh Friedman, who penned Steven Spielbergís War of the Worlds remake and was one of the key people behind the television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was the first one to sign on, but he was followed by Rise of the Planet of the Apes veterans Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and Armageddon's Shane Salerno, all of whom will be working side-by-side with Cameron. No plot details have been revealed yet, but the director has said that the sequels will introduce "whole new worlds, habitats and cultures," which very well could mean that we will get to meet some different kinds of intelligent alien species).
This will come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, but the main character of Avatar is going to be coming back for the franchiseís sequels. Sam Worthington, who has spent the years since his breakout role in the original sci-fi blockbuster starring in movies like Clash of the Titans, Man on a Ledge and Sabotage, has signed a deal that will see him playing human-turned-Naívi Jake Sully for the next four years or so. It was the Aussie actor who first revealed the production start date last November, saying, "Iíll be grateful if it finishes. I think Jim is building the ship to Pandora, to be honest."
With Jake Sully coming back, you had to know that his alien lady love would be coming back as well, and that is indeed the case. Like Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana has confirmed that she will be back as Neytiri in Avatar 2, 3 and . The actress has already talked a bit about what she has seen from the production, and has even admitted that she and James Cameron got very emotional discussing the story that will play out over the next few years. Saldana has become a queen of the sci-fi genre in her own right since the release of Avatar taking part in not just a new Star Trek sequel, but also Marvel Studiosí upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Weíll have to wait and see how her experience on those movies will add to her performance in the Avatar
Dr. Grace Augustine
Many of you will probably remember that Dr. Grace Augustine (played by Sigourney Weaver) actually died in her Avatar form in the last movie, but apparently thatís not going to stop her from appearing in the sequel. Less than three months after Avatarís release in 2009, it was confirmed that Dr. Augustine has a place in Avatar 2. In October 2010, James Cameron explained the characterís survival by saying "Nobody dies in a science fiction movie," but the real reason will presumably be revealed in the sequel. Itís worth noting that we havenít actually heard a peep about Weaverís involvement in the production in years, but given that the actressesí relationship with the director goes back to the days of Aliens we can probably assume that she will be returning.
Colonel Miles Quaritch
Remember that quote about nobody really dying in a science-fiction movie? Well, that rule apparently applies to Stephen Langís Colonel Miles Quaritch, who we last saw getting two arrows through the chest courtesy of Neytiri. While audiences may have assumed that the villain had passed on, it turns out thatís not the case. Described as the "Darth Vader" of the franchise, Quaritch is going to continue to be an antagonistic force in all three upcoming Avatar sequels. James Cameron has said that he has a very interesting and unexpected arc through the movies, so heís definitely a character to keep an eye on.
The Start Date
So when are they lighting the fuse on this rocket? With 20th Century Fox planning release dates in December 2016, December 2017 and December 2018, production on Avatar 2 is scheduled to begin this fall and will be shooting back-to-back-to-back with Avatar 3 and Avatar 4. This is basically James Cameron mimicking the system that worked so well for Peter Jacksonís Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, right down to the winter theatrical premieres. Once principal production on all three films has been completed, the extensive post-production process will begin, and in between movies you can probably expect that the production teams will come back together for reshoots.