James Cameron has spent years promising the next big sci-fi movie franchise, and now it might actually come to pass.
Arnold Schwarzenegger recently chatted with Cameron on his YouTube page for the 2020 Austrian World Summit, an environmental conference. During their conversation, Cameron gave a production update for his Avatar sequels—part of a planned five-movie saga. The writer and director shared that filming on Avatar 2 is complete and Avatar 3 is nearly done—despite the fact that the novel coronavirus is still going strong. According to Cameron, things are moving along smoothly after losing four months of production time because of the pandemic.
“We rolled around for one more full year, for a release in December 2022, that’s been announced already. 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 said. “I’m down in New Zealand shooting. We’re shooting the remainder of the live-action. We’ve got about 10% left to go. We’re 100% complete on Avatar 2, and we’re sort of 95% complete on Avatar 3.”
Cameron also thanked the country of New Zealand for its diligence in keeping things safe during filming. The Avatar sequels resumed production there this past June because the country had mostly eliminated its covid-19 pandemic (wouldn’t it be nice). The production team did face some criticism for getting to take advantage of the country’s coronavirus travel exemptions for “high value foreigners” early on but given how the movie industry is a big source of revenue for the country, sadly it makes sense a series like Avatar would get priority.
Avatar 2 has been pushed back to December 2022, which means (hopefully) it’s likely the movie will come out after a vaccine has started making rounds around the world. It may seem a long way away, especially if filming is already done—though you can expect a great deal of post-production work on this one—but it’s smart for Cameron and Disney to play the waiting game. As we’ve seen with Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, rushing a movie’s release during a pandemic can be a disaster—recent reports show the film’s only made about $41 million in the U.S. so far.
For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.