The film and television industry is trying to find new footing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with a vast majority of productions still shut down for the foreseeable future. Productions set in certain locations - particularly, those that have eased their social distancing requirements - are gradually beginning to fire up. Arguably the most high-profile project yet to do so is Avatar 2, the long-awaited sequel to the 2009 film. One of the film's producers, Jon Landau, recently took to Instagram to hint that production would be resuming in the near future -- and it looks like he went into a bit more detail about that in a recent interview with RNZ.
"We feel very comfortable because of the actions of [New Zealand's] government and also the responsibility the people took to really curb the virus there," Landau explained. "So we feel we're coming back to the safest place in the world possible thanks to a team of people that we've worked with. We believe we have a very thoughtful, detailed and diligent safety plan that will keep everybody as safe as possible in these unprecedented times."
"If there's a silver lining to a very, very grey cloud, it's that we live in a day and age where technology allows us to be productive, it allows us to be entertained and it allows us to socialize," Landau said of the time spent in quarantine.
Avatar director James Cameron spoke candidly about the pandemic delays in a recent interview, arguing earlier this month that they're trying to get production back up and running "as quick as [they] can."
"It's putting a major crimp in our stride here," Cameron explained. "I want to get back to work on Avatar, which right now we're not allowed to do under state emergency laws or rules. So it's all on hold right now... We were about to shoot down in New Zealand, so that got pushed. We're trying to get back to it as quick as we can."
"On the bright side, New Zealand seems to have been very effective in controlling the virus and their goal is not mitigation, but eradication, which they believe that they can do with aggressive contact tracing and testing," Cameron continued. "So there's a very good chance that our shoot might be delayed a couple of months, but we can still do it. So that's good news. We've got everybody – everybody at Weta Digital and Lightstorm – working from home to the extent that that is possible," Cameron added. "But my work is on the stage doing the virtual cameras and so on, so I can do a bit of editing, but it's not great for me."
Avatar 2 will see the return of Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Giovanni Ribisi, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, CCH Pounder, and Matt Gerald. New cast members include Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Brendan Cowell, Michelle Yeoh, Jemaine Clement, Oona Chaplin, David Thewlis, Vin Diesel, and CJ Jones.
Avatar 2 will be released in theaters on December 17, 2021. If all goes according to plan, Avatar 3 will be released on December 22, 2023, Avatar 4 will be released on December 19, 2025, and Avatar 5 will be released on December 17, 2027.