The coronavirus pandemic may have almost entirely shut down the movie industry, but only in America, whose leaders have struggled (or, in some cases, not struggled enough) to contain its spread. Good thing James Cameron was making his many Avatar sequels half a world away, off in far-flung New Zealand, which was able to get its numbers down to zero before just about everyone. And lo and behold, they did such a good job that Cameron and team are “100 percent complete” shooting Avatar 2, and “95 percent” done with Avatar 3.
As per Entertainment Weekly, the Oscar-winning filmmaker broke the news during a Zoom call with frequent star Arnold Schwarzenegger, as they spoke ahead of the 2020 Austrian World Summit.
“COVID hit us like it hit everybody,” Camerons said. “We lost about four and a half months of production.” He’d already announced that they pushed the release date back a year, to December 2022. “Now that doesn’t mean I have an extra year to finish the film because the day we deliver Avatar 2 we’ll just start working on finishing Avatar 3.”
He added, “So where we are right now, I’m down in New Zealand shooting. We’re shooting the remainder of the live-action. We’ve got about 10 percent left to go. We’re 100 percent complete on Avatar 2 and we’re sort of 95 percent complete on Avatar 3.”
While Hollywood productions have been put on hold and even numerous theatrical releases have been repeatedly delayed — and will no doubt continue to do so considering Tenet’s comparatively paltry box office numbers mid-COVID — Team Avatar Sequels have been dropping photos from the set, featuring stars like Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldana, Kate Winslet, and Cliff Curtis hard at work.
Of course, just because principal photography is done doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing it anytime soon. There’s a ton of effects work to be done, and Cameron has to deliver on next level tech that will advance the art in ways that will keep audiences coming back for a ream of sequels over the next handful of years. And just to remind you, when Avatar 2 does drop in two years and change, it will have been 13 years since the last time you feasted your 3-D eyes on Pandora, and maybe the last time you heard about “unobtanium.”