It's easy to get confused when an actor joins the cast of a major film franchise like Avatar, especially when the sequels are filming back-to-back-to-back. Even actor David Thewlis, known for appearing in Wonder Woman and Harry Potter, had a little bit of confusion about his involvement in the sequels, saying previously he has "no idea what (his) scenes will be like." Thewlis set the record straight further about his time on Pandora, confirming which of the films in the series he'll appear in, and it's not Avatar 2. Speaking with Collider, Thewlis confirmed he's set to appear in the later sequels and will first appear in Avatar 3.
"Well, nothing could be more different than Avatar. It completely doesn't resemble anything that I've ever done. I should be clear, by the way, 'cause I know that a magazine in Britain has got me in Avatar 2, but I'm not in Avatar 2. I'm going to be in Avatar 3, which was shot at the same time as Avatar 2, and the plan is that I will be in Avatar 4 and 5, as well. I just wanted to clear that up because somebody got that wrong recently."
Thewlis also went on to talk about his time on set for the third movie and working with filmmaker James Cameron, something he said he was anxious about at first.
"I loved working with Jim Cameron. I was a bit nervous 'cause I'd heard stories that he's quite a hard task master. I'd heard stories about the filming of Titanic, and that he could be quite difficult. He wasn't difficult, at all. He was nothing but an absolute pleasure, and I had a great laugh with him. He's something of a genius. He does everything. He's an engineer, an artist, a filmmaker, and a writer. He's just an extraordinary character. I felt very naive. I didn't really know what I was doing because I'd never shot in that way before. It's not really like making a film, at all. It doesn't resemble it, in any way. Everything was completely new to me. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. There were lots of younger actors on set, who had to tell me what to do next because I felt like an old man. It was a great challenge, and I look forward to doing more of it. Jim Cameron was delightful. I admire him greatly."
Production on the first of the Avatar sequels is set to resume soon after the government of New Zealand has given them permission to re-start. The plan for Cameron's sequels is to film Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 and make the determination after the first sequel is released whether the fourth and fifth film will then be produced. Cameron himself confirmed this but said that unlike other movie sequels, the new Avatar movies are all mostly standalone movies.
"Let's face it, if Avatar 2 and 3 don't make enough money, there's not going to be a 4 and 5," Cameron told Vanity Fair. "They're fully encapsulated stories in and of themselves. It builds across the five films to a greater kind of meta narrative, but they're fully formed films in their own right, unlike, say, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, where you really just had to sort of go, "Oh, shit, all right, well I guess I better come back next year." Even though that all worked and everybody did.
Avatar 2 is scheduled to 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.