Though Hollyood hasn't yet gotten production going on some of its biggest blockbusters filming domestically, the biggest films on the planet have returned to shooting as production has resumed on James Cameron's Avatar sequels. Cameron and his producing partner Jon Landau confirmed at the start of the month that production would resume after the mandatory two-week quarantine in the country of New Zealand and it appears that they're right on schedule. Landau took to Instagram to confirm shooting as resumed with a photo of the set, writing: "Used my iPhone to snap a picture of our first shot back in production on the Avatar sequels." Check it out below!
Follow-ups to the 2009 feature film from Cameron have been in development for over a decade at this point, with an ever changing release date schedule. Despite a three month delay in production the director has previously said he believes the sequel will still be released on time. If all goes according to plan Avatar 2 will be released in theaters on December 17, 2021 with Avatar 3 set to follow it on December 22, 2023. Should those two films be well received, it will see two more sequels from the series be released with Avatar 4 scheduled on December 19, 2025, and Avatar 5 scheduled on December 17, 2027.
Despite the years of development, very little about the actual plot of the movies was known until Landau pulled back the curtain in a recent interview. Speaking with RNZ, Landau said: "This is the story of the Sully family and what one does to keep their family together. Jake and Neytiri have a family in this movie, they are forced to leave their home, they go out and explore the different regions of Pandora, including spending quite a bit of time on the water, around the water, in the water."
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Cameron himself previously confirmed that the water ecosystems of Pandora would be a major focus of the films, making a note of it as early as 2010. A previously released production photo from the set shows how the production crew is able to film stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana during underwater motion-capture. They're joined in the film by young actors Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton, and Trinity Bliss who will fill the roles of their children for the movie.
Landau further elaborated on their intentions with the Avatar franchise, namedropping another famous New Zealand production as what they're aiming for with the new movies.
"I think with Avatar, we have an opportunity to allow people to escape to an incredible world with incredible characters that they will follow, in much the same way as Peter Jackson was able to do with Lord of the Rings, so that's what we're looking forward to doing."
Avatar 2 will also see the return of cast members 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.