James Cameron’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to Avatar is going to be delayed until at least 2015, producer Jon Landau said Thursday. Contrary to previous statements that indicated Avatar 2 would arrive in theaters in December 2014 and Avatar 3 would follow in 2015, Landau revealed that the first of two proposed sequels probably won’t be ready within the next two years.
“We’re not naming dates, but I think 2014 will be a tough date for us to make,” Landau told Empire. “It’s about getting it right … movies make release dates; release dates don’t make movies.” Possible reasons for a delay include Cameron spending time with his recent dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and his overseeing of the 3D conversion of Titanic.
Although Landau and Cameron outlined a release schedule for the two films, neither committed to specific release dates. Regardless, despite the fact that Cameron plans to shoot Avatar 2 and 3 back to back, Landau also insisted that each of the films will – and must – stand alone. “That’s where movies fall into trouble – when they try to say: ‘You know what? It’s really one movie and there’s an intermission’ – so we want each one to be a stand-alone movie.
“The next one will kick off where the last one ended,” he said. “But just like Avatar resolved itself and doesn’t feel like a setup to another movie, you don’t want Avatar 2 to feel like a setup for 3.”
Meanwhile, Cameron’s Manhattan Beach studio is up and running, and Landau indicated that the filmmaker has already begun collaborating with the New Zealand effects company Weta Digital, which is developing an “underwater motion capture system” that will allow him to bring to life the oceans of Pandora. Nevertheless, Landau insisted that not all of the film will take place underwater. “It’s going to be like the Floating Mountains in the first movie,” he said. “It’s not going to be all underwater; it’s going to be a place we go to, leave and come back to.”