The movie release schedule for 2015 is already staggering under the weight of a number of huge sequels, from The Avengers: Age of Ultron to Star Wars: Episode VII, so it’s something of a relief that the master of box office profit, James Cameron, is saving the follow-up to his sci-fi magnum opus Avatar until 2016.
Because over four years have passed since the release of Avatar, it’s probably necessary to reaffirm a few details about the sequels, even the ones that seem obvious. Twentieth Century Fox has done just that with the announcement that Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington will reprise their roles as Neytiri and Jake Sully in the three upcoming Avatar sequels.
Both Worthington and Saldana, who weren’t too well-known prior to their casting in Avatar, have enjoyed healthy careers since its release. Saldana has seen a little more of the spotlight and is currently involved in two additional franchises, starring as Uhura in J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek universe and as Gamora in James Gunn’s upcoming Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Meanwhile, Worthington has played the lead in both Clash of the Titans and Wrath of the Titans. Since Avatar remains the highest-grossing film of all time, however, it’s doubtful that either actor would be hesitant to get back into the franchise.
Despite the long wait for Avatar 2, these three sequels are currently set to release in quick succession. Avatar 2 will be released in 2016, Avatar 3 in 2017 and Avatar 4 in 2018, and the three movies will be shot back-to-back over the course of about a year, with filming set to begin on Avatar 2 in October of this year.
Even if you’re not a fan of Avatar, there’s no denying that Cameron pushed visual effects forward massively during the making of it. His technique of using a boom-mounted camera to capture the actors’ facial expressions for animators to use later has since been widely popularized in movies like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and also in the video game industry with recent releases like The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Cameron handles Avatar 2, which is said to be set largely in the oceans of Pandora and will almost certainly push the envelope when it comes to creating visual effects for underwater worlds.
H. Shaw-Williams blogs at Screen Rant.