James Cameron is prepping not one, not two, not three, but four separate Avatar sequels, which will be released in consecutive years beginning Christmas 2018.
“We have decided to embark on a truly massive cinematic process,” Cameron explained during a surprise appearance at CinemaCon on Thursday. “I’ve been working the last couple of years with a team of four top screenwriters to design the world of Avatar going forward: The characters, the creatures, the environment, the new cultures.”
The original Avatar, released in 2009, has grossed $2.8 billion worldwide. Cameron had initially planned to make just two sequels, with the first arriving in 2016. The enormity of the project, specifically Cameron’s desire to shot a portion of the film underwater, has caused numerous delays in production.
“So far, the art I’m seeing is, in pure imagination, really far beyond the first film,” Cameron added. “It’s going to be a true epic saga.”
Avatar 2 is currently the biggest film to occupy the Christmas 2018 docket, with Disney opting for a May release for its Han Solo film. However, we’ve already seen Disney push back one of its Star Wars films (Episode VIII) to the holiday season, so it’s still possible Avatar and Han Solo could face off. Of course, if Avatar 3 sees release in Christmas 2019, it’ll face even stiffer competition from Star Wars – Episode IX.