More than most years, 2017 will see the release of many blockbusters, including Star Wars: Episode VIII and DC’s Justice League. To combat that, James Cameron has announced (or rather: reconfirmed) that the sequel to his 2009 box office juggernaut, Avatar, is slated for a Christmas 2017 release—a year later than the original 2016 projection.
Avatar 2 will be the first sequel in a trilogy; the subsequent films will be released a year apart as part of a collective “meta-narrative.” In an interview with Montreal Gazette, Cameron explains the film’s delay, as well as the tripartite release:
“Each film stands alone, but it also tells one much larger story. We have design more or less finished, which is an enormous task. It’s been about a two-year task, all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds within the world of Pandora that you see. The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So we’re really poised to start after the first of the year.”
Cameron also further elaborates on Cirque du Soleil’s collaborative role in the new Avatar films, saying he was inspired by the Cirque du Soleil shows “with their celebration of human physicality, with their made-up culture, their made-up languages, that sense of a wondrous transport to a different world.”
The principal cast from the original film (Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Stephen Lang, and Sigourney Weaver) will all appear in the sequel, which is currently still in pre-production.