Get ready to take off for Pandora again — James Cameron is not only shooting two Avatar sequels at the same time, but will do it all over again with two more simultaneous movies after that. This, while performing a cinematic balancing act with Terminator and Robert Rodriguez’s Battle Angel.
“We've been working in the volume — we call it the volume, which is our working space — for months now,” the director told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to the motion-capture soundstage where he's chronicling the evolution of Pandora and the N’avi who inhabit this bioluminescent world. “And everything looks gorgeous and spectacular and we have the best concept artists in the world. We have, I think, some of the best CG artists in the world. I couldn't be happier about the way everything looks.”
Cameron arranges his virtual world onstage and matches up actual set pieces to it, so scenes can be rehearsed before the final motion capture (after which they will appear as blue alien beings onscreen). He is currently capturing Avatar 2 and 3 together, which will go through postproduction in the order they will be released, and has similar plans for Avatar 4 and 5 after the first two are released. Even more amazing is that Cameron is able to do this without eight spare arms.
“They're all written and they're all designed,” he said, “so we literally hit the ground running the day after Avatar 3 comes out, starting capture on 4 and 5 and then post on those and release those.”
Meaning, he says he can totally handle the almost back-to-back release dates that would have the first two extraterrestrial films touching down on Earth and in theaters in December 2020 and 2021, and the others in 2024 and 2025. Cameron isn’t really concerned that it will have been an entire decade since the N’avi first came to life onscreen, since both Alien and Terminator didn’t spawn sequels for seven years, but Xenomorphs remained live nightmare fuel and fans still believed that the Terminator will, well, be back.
Cameron is also considering a remastered re-release of the original Avatar to reopen the portal into Pandora and the world of the sequels.
“Any chance I get to re-release my films so that people can see them on the big screen, the way they are meant to be seen…” Cameron admitted, “I'll never say no.”