Academy Award winning director James Cameron ("Titanic,""Alien") recently announced his plan to release four sequels to "Avatar" between now and 2023. The 2009 film still holds the record for highest box office grossing movie of all time.
Speaking to Famous Monsters of Filmland, he gave eager fans new insight into the mammoth production process for the four movies.
“It’s really all one big production,” he told the site. “It’s more the way you would shoot a miniseries. So we’ll be shooting across all [four films] simultaneously. So Monday I might be doing a scene from Movie Four, and Tuesday I’m doing a scene from Movie One… We’re working across, essentially, eight hours of story. It’s going to be a big challenge to keep it all fixed in our minds, exactly where we are, across that story arc at any given point… It’s a saga. It’s like doing all three ‘Godfather’ films at the same time.”
During the original announcement, Cameron announced a rough timeline for the films:
"Avatar 2"— Christmas 2018
"Avatar 3"— Christmas 2020
"Avatar 4"— Christmas 2022
"Avatar 5"— Christmas 2023
Immediate parallels were drawn to the similar release window for the upcoming "Star Wars" films, releasing between now and 2020. Box office analysts noted that, while "Avatar" is still the highest-grossing film worldwide, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" beat the original record set by "Avatar" for domestic box office gross. Nonetheless, Cameron was clear he wasn't interested in pitting the two franchises against each other.
“[I] don’t want to land on the same date as one of the ‘Star Wars’ sequels. That wouldn’t be fair to them,” Cameron laughs. “No, that’s just good business. I don’t want to go head-to-head with ‘Star Wars’. That would be stupid. And hopefully they won’t want to go head-to-head with us.”
The director confirmed the original film's stars, Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver will return for the upcoming movies. And while the first "Avatar" was best known for its stunning CG and 3D effects, the new movies be a little different.
"On the new ‘Avatar’ films, I’m actually going to shoot more real-world stuff,” Cameron said. “It may only be there as an example from which we then generate CG, or we may actually integrate some of those photographic elements. But I want more photography.”