Director James Cameron shared a major update on the status of Avatar 2 this weekend. Cameron and the Avatar team have been hard at work filming the next two sequels in the epic franchise down in New Zealand. The team faced production delays earlier in the year due to COVID-19, with travel restrictions into the country as well as general health and safety measures putting everything on pause from March through June. Now, after a few months’ worth of interesting photos from the set and some concept art teases, Cameron is offering up a true-blue status update on the next movies.
Cameron reunited with his Terminator star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, via video call over the weekend ahead of the 2020 Austrian World Summit environmental conference (via The Independent). On that call, Cameron confirmed filming on Avatar 2 was complete and even went so far as to share a key update on the status of Avatar 3. He told Schwarzenegger:
“COVID hit us like it hit everybody… We lost about four and a half months of production. As a result of that, we’ve rolled around one more full year for a release in December of 2022. That’s been announced already. Now that doesn’t mean I have an extra year to finish the film, because the day we deliver Avatar 2 we’ll just start working on finishing Avatar 3.”
Cameron continued, “So, where we are right now [is] I’m down in New Zealand shooting. We’re shooting the remainder of the live-action. We’ve got about 10 percent left to go. We’re 100 percent complete on Avatar 2 and we’re sort of 95 percent complete on Avatar 3.”
Despite the progress on the Avatar sequels amidst a global pandemic, we learned in July the release dates for the four planned sequels were delayed yet again. For Avatar 2, that meant getting pushed back a full year from December 2021 to December 2022. As for Avatar 3, its release date moved from December 2023 to December 20, 2024. So, while it’s exciting to hear that progress is being made on filming, it will still be a long time before we get to see the continuing adventures of Sam Worthington‘s Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana‘s Neytiri on the faraway planet of Pandora.
Avatar 2 is currently scheduled for release on December 16, 2022. Get even more Avatar franchise updates here.
Allie Gemmill is the Weekend Contributing Editor for Collider. You can follow them on Twitter @_matineeidle.