'Avatar 4' And '5' Already Filming, Loses Papyrus Font, Sigourney Weaver Talks About Shooting Underwater

We're almost a decade removed from the record-breaking box office success of James Cameron's Avatar, and we're still years away from seeing if the long-gestating Avatar 2 will reignite audiences' interest in the fictional world of Pandora. It'll be even longer than that before we see Avatar 4 and 5, but despite Cameron's assertion that those planned sequels aren't sure bets, production is apparently already underway. And the franchise has already made at least one huge improvement: Cameron and his team have ditched the Papyrus font they used in the first movie.

In a new interview, Avatar star Sigourney Weaver says she's "busy" working on those sequels now. She also talks a little about the new character she's playing, her experience filming Avatar 2 and 3, and whether or not we'll ever see Alien 5 directed by Chappie filmmaker Neill Blomkamp. Read Weaver's quotes and take a look at the new Papyrus-free Avatar logo below.

During a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Weaver was asked whether Alien 5 – a highly-publicized potential sequel which would see her return to the franchise as Ellen Ripley – will ever happen, and the superstar actress buried a little Avatar tidbit in her answer:

"We almost started to do it when I was working with James Cameron. But by the time we were put off by Fox, Neill had gotten so many jobs that we'd have to wait probably. I'm busy doing Avatar 4 and 5. I love working with Neill and I think he'd do a terrific job, and James Cameron really thinks it's a great idea, so you never know. Right now, I think Neill's got like three projects going at once."

Alien 5 may or may not ever materialize – although, if Halloween can bring back Jamie Lee Curtis and make serious money at the box office, maybe that could be the spark Disney/Fox needs to begin seriously exploring it.

The more interesting thing here is Weaver casually mentioning that she's already busy on Avatar 4 and 5, because last November, James Cameron outright said that those movies weren't guaranteed to even happen:

"Let's face it, if AVATAR 2 and 3 don't make enough money, there's not going to be a 4 and 5. They're fully encapsulated stories in and of themselves. It builds across the five films to a greater kind of meta narrative, but they're fully formed films in their own right, unlike, say, The LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, where you really just had to sort of go, 'Oh, shit, all right, well I guess I better come back next year.' Even though that all worked and everybody did."

In May of this year, Avatar star Zoe Saldana explained the production timeline in a different interview:

"We are just about finishing motion capture production on the [second and third] movies, and then after that, they go straight into pre-production for the live-action part that will shoot for six months in New Zealand."

But in this new interview, Weaver says, "we just finished shooting two and three."

"We shot it in LA and James has announced publicly that there's a lot of underwater work, so we learned how to free dive and we did many scenes underwater which was challenging and kind of cool...

...The water becomes another world. The scripts are amazing, and in the first one, which I love, I think he hadn't set up a lot of things. In this one he got to tell this very personal story. They're amazing. There's a message to not sacrifice everything for greed and conquest. It will take all four movies to really make that message loud and clear for the whole world."

She also again confirmed she'd be playing an entirely different character in all four of the sequels and not be reprising her role of Dr. Grace Augustine from the first movie. You can read a few more of her comments about the Avatar sequels (as well as her comments about the #MeToo movement) at THR.

Avatar new logo

As for the logo, FastCompany points out that the official Avatar Twitter page has changed the franchise's logo and switched the font from Papyrus to something different. This new iteration keeps Papyrus's vaguely exotic vibe without carrying the baggage of the font itself, which has become a punching bag in pop culture. About a year ago, Saturday Night Live aired a hilarious sketch in which a character played by host Ryan Gosling couldn't get over the fact that the highest-grossing movie in history used such a terrible font, and the creator of the font even responded to that video going viral. That sketch may have even been the reason for the change; at the very least, the Avatar team knows all about it:

Avatar 2 is currently scheduled to hit theaters on December 18, 2020.