'Avatar' Sequels Not Certain After Disney-Fox Merger

A decade after the first film broke records at the box office, audiences are preparing to return to the world of Pandora when the sequel to Avatar finally premieres in theaters next year.

It's still a long ways away, but director James Cameron is hard at work on the film having finished photography on both Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. The ambitious filmmaker has often spoke about his plans to make a fourth and fifth movie, but it sounds like those films aren't set in stone just yet.

The movies are produced by 20th Century Fox, longtime collaborators of Cameron's but with Disney's acquisition of Fox set to be finalized in the next few months, the House of Mouse will decide whether they want to greenlight two more Avatar sequels.

While speaking to Barron's, Disney Chairman Robert Iger spoke about the possibility of making more Avatar movies while speaking about the license for the Pandora section of Walt Disney World.

"We had licensed—well before we anticipated buying Fox, we went to Jim Cameron and suggested to him that we build an Avatar presence at our parks, as we had done with George Lucas with Star Wars and Indiana Jones," said Iger. "As Universal did with Time Warner and J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. So we licensed from Jim the right to build Avatar lands at our parks and paid a fee to Jim and to Fox for the rights. In this particular case, it doesn’t really change except that we’ll be paying ourselves. There are two more Avatars coming and two in the pipeline that have not been greenlit."

Though Disney has not yet officially approved the productions of two more Avatar movies beyond the third film, Iger seems confident in the franchise as a whole while teasing the upcoming sequels.

"The new ones are a continuation of the former one, so the characters will become more familiar because they’ve only been in one movie," Iger said. "I can’t get into all the details, but there’s obviously character development and story development as part of Avatar 2 and 3. I’ll call it growth or evolution of core characters and introduction of some new ones. It didn’t do $2.6 billion worldwide by accident. There’s something there."

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While Cameron has ambitious plans, it will likely be a while before we learn about the future of the Avatar franchise.

Avatar 2 is scheduled to premiere in theaters on December 18, 2020.