avatar 2 filming

Productions around the world have been delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but ironically it is the long-awaited Avatar 2 that is staying right on schedule. Director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau lived up to their promises that Avatar 2 would be resuming production down in New Zealand this week, with the pair landing in the country and entering the 14-day mandated quarantine. Shooting resumes for real once Cameron and his crew emerge from quarantine.

Variety reports that Cameron and Landau arrived in Wellington, New Zealand on Sunday morning and wasted no time entering the country’s mandated 14-day quarantine so that filming of the long-awaited Avatar sequel could resume as soon as possible. Cameron and Landau were two of 54 passengers were on board a chartered Air New Zealand plane, departing Friday night from LAX, and flying for nearly 13 hours direct from Los Angeles to Wellington.

On Instagram post on Sunday, Landau announced that he and Cameron had arrived in New Zealand and would enter the government supervised quarantine.

“Made it to New Zealand. Our 14-day government supervised self-isolation now begins,” Landau said.

Production on the four Avatar sequels, which were shooting back-to-back in New Zealand, was put on pause in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, while the country closed its borders. Though borders are officially still closed in New Zealand, Cameron, Landau and foreign crew elements used a border exemption clause for foreigners considered of “significant economic value.” The film industry has been a huge boon for New Zealand’s economy since The Lord of the Rings series brought attention to the country, and the Avatar sequels, which employs the New Zealand-based WETA Digital for its, has kept business going. The effects are reportedly budgeted at $1 billion.

The slow re-opening of overseas productions have given Cameron confidence that Avatar 2 can still make its December 2021 release date, and the recent release of a string of behind-the-scenes images of the set supports that. The long-delayed sequels to the 2009 mega-hit were due to be completed by the end of 2020, and may still in fact make their release dates, which 20th Century Studios still have not changed yet.

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. New cast members include Kate Winslet, Edie Falco, Michelle Yeoh, Vin Diesel, Jemaine Clement, and Oona Chaplin. There’s also a whole group of young actors playing the Na’vi children of Jake and Neytiri in the movie.

Avatar 2 is aiming for a December 27, 2021 release in theaters, and three sequels are slated to follow in December 2023, December 2025, and December 2027.

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