6:00am PT by Carolyn Giardina
Weta Working on "Even More Ambitious" 'Avatar' Sequels
As CG confab Siggraph opened in Los Angeles, Weta Digital officially confirmed that it has begun work on James Cameron’s anticipated four sequels to his Avatar.
The Wellington, New Zealand-based studio was the lead VFX house on the 2009 original, which was the highest-grossing film of all time with $2.8 billion and earned three Oscars, including one for its VFX.
Said Cameron in a statement: “What [Weta senior VFX supervisor] Joe Letteri and Weta Digital bring to these stories is impossible to quantify. Since we made Avatar, Weta continued to prove themselves as doing the best CG animation, the most human, the most alive, the most photorealistic effects in the world. And of course, that now means I can push them to take it even further.”
Producer Jon Landau said of the partnership: “The depth of talent at Weta is impressive and the culture of excellence is one that matches how we do things at Lightstorm. We also know that these next films promise to be even more ambitious than the first film. And, we know from experience that when it comes to technical innovation Weta is peerless.”
The sequels have been given the following release dates: Dec. 18, 2020; Dec. 17, 2021; Dec. 20, 2024; and Dec. 19, 2025.
"Jim’s vision for the world of Pandora was always so much bigger than what we created for the first film," said Letteri, who has won four VFX Oscars, including one for Avatar. "Helping him expand the language of cinema through new narratives set in such an expansive universe is the type of opportunity that rarely comes along twice.”
Weta Digital executive producer David Conley noted that the company has been expanding. “This enables us to find a mix of other films that can help us grow along with Avatar, as is the case with Alita: Battle Angel, Marvel’s Infinity War and Mortal Engines, to name a few of the other films we are working on."
Weta's recent work includes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, War for the Planet of the Apes and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.