What's This?Look! People who are ostensibly working on 'Avatar' sequels!
There are now four planned sequels to James Cameron's Avatar in the works, with the first of those slated to arrive on Dec. 18, 2020.
A new post on the official Avatar Facebook page confirms the release-date news, noting that production is underway. It also offers up a schedule for each of the subsequent planned releases, the last of which will be out in 2025.
Don't ink your calendar just yet, things could change. For anyone following Avatar's progress toward a sequel over the years, it's easy to see this latest news as yet another empty promise. There have been so many, after all.
The 2009 blockbuster — which starred Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang — was a huge success, picking up close to $3 billion in ticket sales worldwide. Predictably, it didn't take long for sequel talk to spring up.
First — going all the way back to 2010 — there were going to be two sequels, arriving in 2014 and 2015. Then three. Avatar 2 eventually slipped to a vague 2015 release. The more time that passed, the less specific Fox's sequel plans seemed to get.
The studio publicly hit reset on Avatar's future in 2014 when it announced three follow-ups, to arrive in 2016, 2017, and 2018. One year later, more delays; now, Avatar 2 would be coming in 2017 instead. A year after that: Cameron confirmed at CinemaCon 2016 it would actually be four sequels, launching in 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023.
That's just the broad timeline. And now we have this latest announcement, from a Facebook post on April 22. The question any Avatar fan is right to ask at this point: why should we believe any of this?
It's a fair thing to wonder. Delays aren't exactly uncommon in Hollywood, but Avatar has been shuffled around to a comical extent since 2009. Especially for a movie with $2.8 billion in ticket sales.
If you're looking for any shred of evidence to hang your hopes on, there's at least some good news. Fox has been slowly, quietly ramping up efforts to resurrect interest in Avatar over the past couple years.
While Cameron himself has never stopped talking about the movies — probably because no one will stop asking — Fox mobilized a multi-platform social media launch in 2015. The apparent hope was to remind people of Avatar's existence and introduce them to its alien world of Pandora.
A similar project is underway at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom. A new, Pandora-inspired section of the theme park was revealed in late 2016 and is expected to open this summer.
Also new for 2017: a comic book from Dark Horse and the announcement of an upcoming video game — no release date — from the same Ubisoft team that made The Division.
It's still hard to trust this new production timeline, given all the false starts. But Fox — likely emboldened by Disney's successes with Marvel and Star Wars — is clearly invested in giving Avatar another shot.