Performance Capture Is Done On 'Avatar 2' And 'Avatar 3', James Cameron Says

It's been 84 years since Avatar first hit the big screen, or at least it feels that way. But believe it or not, the four Avatar sequels are still on the way, and they've been making some decent progress over the years, even as as the finish line for Avatar 2 has been pushed back pretty much every year since 2014. Today brings news straight from James Cameron about the progress of the Avatar sequels production, and you might be surprised to learn that the performance capture is completely done for Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, and live-action production is almost finished too. Find out more below.

Speaking with Variety on the 10th anniversary of Avatar this week, director James Cameron provided an update on where they stand with completing the four sequels planned for release every other year starting in 2021 and ending in 2027. Cameron said:

"From 2013 until now we've mostly designed the whole world across four new movies. We've written, finished scripts for all four of those films. We've cast them, and we've [performance] captured movie 2, movie 3, and the first part of movie 4. We're mostly done with the live action. I've got a couple months in New Zealand in spring, so we're kind of on track with what we set out to do."

The crew recently celebrated the last day of live-action production for 2019 by posting a new photo from behind the scenes of the sequel. But otherwise, we haven't seen much that provides any insight into what these sequels will look like. Cameron hopes people can be patient and explained why it's taking so long to get these movies done:

"People don't really understand the scope and complexity of the process. It's like making two and a half big animated films. A typical big animated film takes about four years, so, if you do the math on that, we're kind of right on schedule for December 2021."

The question is whether or the interest will still be there by the time the first sequel arrives. By the time that happens, 11 years will have passed. When the final sequel arrives, nearly 20 years will have gone by. That's wild.

The Avatar sequels are bringing back the original movie's cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver, and Matt Gerald. But there are several new cast members in the mix as well, including Kate Winslet, Edie Falco, Michelle Yeoh, Vin Diesel, Jemaine Clement, and Oona Chaplin. Plus, there's a whole slate of young actors playing Na'vi children in the movie too.

Avatar 2 is slated to arrive in theaters on December 17, 2021, and Avatar 3 will follow on December 22, 2023. If those two movies are successful at the box office, then James Cameron will continue with Avatar 4 on December 19, 2025, and Avatar 5 will finish the franchise on December 17, 2027.