Why is Avatar 2 taking so long to be released?

Find out the many reasons why James Cameron's Avatar sequels are delayed
Avatar 2

The year 2009 seems like a long time ago, but cast your mind back, and you might remember that little phenomenon called Avatar – James Cameron’s hit movie that still holds the record for highest box-office gross ever at $2.79B. It took him 13 years to transform his writing into the original movie. And since then, he has teased us with a promised two sequels. More than a decade now, does Avatar 2 seems like taking a long time? Is the Avatar hype dead with the delay?

Cameron’s forthcoming Avatar 2 has been held back for a few years now, shifting its release date at one point or another. He’s also bumped that up making further sequels to Avatar, a third, fourth, and a fifth film. He had to do pre-production for the four movies before shooting. So, all of it is taking time. Of course, this should probably not surprise us. If there has been one thing throughout the long gestation period of Avatar 2, it is inconsistency.


Why Avatar 2 Keeps Getting Delayed

In October 2010, almost a year after Avatar’s record-breaking release, the director announced that Avatar 2 is scheduled to be released in December 2014, with Avatar 3 arriving in December 2015. But by 2012, Jon Landau, the producer was talking down the 2014 release during an interview with Empire magazine, saying, “production concerns” could push the release dates back. 


About the time, Cameron bought a vast plot of land in New Zealand, supposedly to shoot the film on. And in late 2013, the New Zealand ­government confirmed the news. Since this announcement was made in December 2013, it was pretty clear that the sequel was unlikely to make that original 2014 release date. Especially given that Fox revealed that the scripts were “just starting to be written” around the same time. 

In Cameron’s statement, “We set ourselves a challenge of writing three films at the same time. And I could certainly write any one of them but to write three in some reasonable amount of time – we wanted to shoot them together so we couldn’t start one until all three scripts were done and approved.”

“So, we’re talking roughly six weeks, to write the scripts. The scripting is not what has caused the long timeline between the original and its sequel(s). It’s all about research, technology, concept-building, etc.,” he says.


While Fox moved back the release date of Avatar 2 to December 2016, of course, no one was surprised, Cameron himself pushed it back a further year stating, “there’s a layer of complexity in getting the story to work as a saga across three films that you don’t get when you’re making a stand-alone film”. “we’ve done that so that everything tracks throughout the three films. We’re not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that, he says”.

In January 2015, it was announced that Avatar 2 would now be coming in December 2017, with Cameron saying that the “very involved” writing process was to blame for the wait. Filming was expected to finally begin in April of 2016 but that just did not happen. 

Next in January 2017, it was announced that work on Avatar 2’s motion capture would be starting in August 2017 but was delayed again. The shooting, however, began in September 2017. About a year later, Cameron stated that 2018 would not be possible again.


Why are Avatar Sequels Taking So Long

James Cameron is a one-of-a-kind director that makes films with full effort. As a perfectionist, he believes in quality films and does not compromise. It sounds like he’s going into a lot of detail with these films. “The first thing I did was sat for a year and wrote 1,500 pages of notes of the world and the cultures and the different clans and different animals and different biomes and so on, said Cameron at the Hero Complex Film Festival in 2014

Another amazing thing about Cameron is that he has to invent new technology for his movies. He has done it with most of his films, especially with Avatar. Without the years of research, development, and creation, the film would not have been the visual experience that it was. Thus, Cameron is approaching the sequels with the same intentions. This may be understandable since Cameron is shooting four films at the same time and has generally been distinctly non-committal about the delays.

You can only imagine how long it takes to research, develops new techniques and technology, and build those conceptual designs for all four films. Hence, the long delay between the first film and the upcoming four sequels.


Another reason for the delay is that Cameron is shooting all the films at the same time as each other. Essentially, each film will need to be completely shot before a single one can be completed. There may be some flexibility with the way the shoots are scheduled, but on the face of it, there’s no option to get the second finished off, then come back to the third. It’s all or nothing.

According to him, “The important thing for me is not when the first one comes out but the cadence of the release pattern,” he says. “I want them to be released as close together as possible. If it’s an annual appointment to show up at Christmas, I want to make sure that we’re able to fulfill that promise.”

Furthermore, Cameron revealed that he had three teams of writers spend about eight (8) months working together on the story line until every detail has been perfected. Thereafter, he split them up, each with one chapter of the story to write. Cameron himself is a member of each writing team. And to be honest, this was never going to be a quick job.


When will Avatar 2 actually be released?

While many people claim to have been waiting for long and some have begun to lose interest, it seems the waiting period is now over! Avatar 2 is apparently going to be released on December 16, 2022, after it was pushed back from December 2020 and December 2021. A new Avatar movie will be released every other year on the same day in the same month in 2023, 2025, and 2027.

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