james-cameron2

More or less since the moment that Avatar was released there has been talk of a sequel. Franchise potential was built into the story from the start. When the film became a staggering financial success, the talk only intensified, to the point where there has been word of pre-production work already beginning.

James Cameron spoke about 3D filmmaking at a technology forum in Seoul, South Korea recently, and said that a release date for the Avatar sequel will be announced “in a few months.” He also talked briefly about how long Avatar 2 will take to make.

The AP reports on Cameron’s talk, and says that the director estimates the sequel will take about three years to make. That’s a year and half less than the active time required to make the first film, but likely takes into account the fact that much of the technological heavy lifting has already been done. Or, in Cameron’s own words from late last year:

Actually, when I pitched this to 20th Century Fox four-and-a-half years ago, I said, ‘You know, we’re going to spend a lot of money and time and energy creating not only a process but the assets, the CG assets, we call them – all the models of every rock and tree and plant and creature and the muscle rigs for all the creatures and the facial rigging for the main characters and all that’… huge, millions and millions of dollars. So it really makes sense to think of it as the potential start of a franchise, if you will, or a saga that plays out over several acts, each movie being an act of that saga.

So what’s the story? The most likely point seems to be that the sequel will dive into the oceans of Pandora. How that fits in with the story set up in the first, we don’t know. But it certainly fits in with Cameron’s overriding interests. He has recently said,

I’m going to be focusing on the ocean on Pandora, which will be equally rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative, but it just won’t be a rain forest. I’m not saying we won’t see what we’ve already seen; we’ll see more of that as well.

And just in case you think there’s any chance Cameron will stop championing 3D any time soon, just read the AP rundown of his talk for comments on how we can expect 3D to fully replace 2D as the standard format in under 25 years.

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