Fans of James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster “Avatar” will have to wait a bit longer for the arrival of the film’s first of three planned sequels, as the release date for “Avatar 2” has been pushed back for the second time — this time indefinitely.
The film was originally slated for a holiday 2016 release, but director Cameron postponed the release until Christmas of 2017, but now it appears that the the continuing story of Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and Jake (Sam Worthington) will arrive sometime in 2018 — or even later.
The movie was bumped from 20th Century Fox’s 2017 release slate earlier this week, and back in December studio CEO Jim Gianopulos hinted at another delay by saying, “Jim Cameron has his own pace.”
During an interview with the Montreal Gazette in December, Cameron said that “Christmas of ’17 is the target” release date.
“At least, that’s what we’ve announced,” he added. “But I don’t consider that to be as important as the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart.”
The “Avatar 2” move also means it won’t be competing with the sequel to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as the delay comes on the heels of the recent release date change for “Star Wars: Episode VIII”, which was pushed from May 2017 to December of that year. Rumor has it the script is being rewritten, but the real truth seems to be the fact that “The Force Awakens” did so well in the December slot that Disney hopes to capture that money — er, magic — once again. A second reason for the bump is that the studio also wants to avoid releasing it at the same time as “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”.
The “Star Wars” move also gives director Rian Johnson more time to work, as the movie isn’t set to start shooting until next month, according to the official Star Wars website. “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams is even said to have commented that the script is so good that he regrets not staying on to direct it, which pretty much quashes the whole rewrite rumor.
As far as “Avatar 2” goes, Cameron plans to shoot all three of his planned “Avatar” sequels back-to-back in New Zealand.
“We have (the) design more or less finished, which is an enormous task,” he told the Montreal Gazette. “It’s been about a two-year task. (We’ve finished) all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds within the world of Pandora that you see. The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So, we’re really poised to start after the first of the year.”