'Avatar 2' Delayed, Will Not Arrive In Christmas 2017

For anyone who was excited to see James Cameron's long-gestating Avatar 2 take on Star Wars: Episode VIII for a Christmas box office battle royale, we have some bad news. Avatar 2 will not be ready to meet the Christmas 2017 release that was staked out for the sequel. Though the release date was never officially claimed by 20th Century Fox, Cameron himself said they were targeting the holiday release window just last month. But now we have no idea when the sequel might hit the big screen.

The Wrap has the news of Avatar 2 delayed, though at this point we're not surprised. For the past few years Avatar 2 has been rumored for 2014, 2015, 2016 and most recently 2017. But when Cameron did mention the previous Christmas 2017 target, he added that meeting that date wasn't as important as "the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart."

There was already speculation that Avatar 2 wasn't going to meet the estimated release when Star Wars: Episode VIII moved to December 15th, 2017, a full seven months after the previously planned May 2017 release date. Disney clearly knew they weren't going to have any major competition at the box office and also wanted that Christmas money for their merchandise release. Plus, there's no way Disney would willingly take on Avatar 2 with the chance of having a smaller IMAX screen count, especially when there's an Avatar installment planned for their theme parks.

So perhaps now that Star Wars: Episode VIII has laid claim to December for at least the next couple years, 20th Century Fox will take Avatar 2 to the summer of 2018 with the third and fourth movies following in 2019 and 2020. As of now Fox isn't making any new date estimates, and it's probably best to just let Cameron make the movies and then figure out when to release them when they're done.

As of now, all we know about Avatar 2 is that Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are reprising their lead roles, underwater performance capture technology will be used, and there's a chance that Sigourney Weaver might be back in some capacity. Otherwise, any story details are being kept under tight wraps.

In the end, the fact that it's taking this long for Avatar 2 to come to fruition isn't all that surprising. James Cameron first announced Avatar as a future project of his in 1996, and audiences didn't get to see it until 2009. Hopefully fans won't have to wait 13 years for Avatar 2, though at this point they've already waited a little over six, so what's another seven years?