More than two months ago, Avatar 2 was forced to suspend production due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting yet another release date in jeopardy. Fortunately, Oscar-winning producer Jon Landau took to Instagram this week to announce that filming will resume next week in New Zealand.
“Our Avatar sets are ready — and we couldn’t be more excited to be headed back to New Zealand next week. Check out the Matador, a high-speed forward command vessel (bottom) and the Picador jetboat (top) — can’t wait to share more,” Landau wrote on Instagram, where he posted a brand new set photo showing off some bad-ass ships.
James Cameron is directing the sci-fi sequel, and the self-proclaimed “King of the World” is used to being the only person on set who calls “cut,” so when COVID-19 did that for him, I can’t imagine he was too pleased. If I know Jim like I think I do, these past two months haven’t been a vacation for him. I’m sure he’s been hard at work, using the time to make the movie better, and make his cast and crew feel safer upon their return to set.
New Zealand’s government is allowing film and television production to resume, having developed sufficient safety protocols designed to prevent the spread of the virus, which never quite took hold of that country like it did the United States. As Hollywood figures out how to resume local production, Avatar 2 becomes the first major studio movie to get up and running again since it’s filming overseas. It’s possible that other studios could move their productions to New Zealand to get a jump on production, provided there are sound stages available.
Sam Worthington returns to star alongside Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore and CCH Pounder, and they’ll be joined by franchise newcomers Kate Winslet, Jemaine Clement, Cliff Curtis, Oona Chaplin, Edie Falco, David Thewlis, Michelle Yeoh and Vin Diesel.
Avatar grossed more than $2.7 billion at the box office back in 2009, and Disney will release the sequel on Dec. 17, 2021. Will audiences show up in droves as before, or has the appetite for this franchise waned? Click here for Tom Reimann‘s deep dive on the matter, and hit the comments section below to let us know what you think about the new Avatar vehicles.