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Avatar 2,3,4 & 5 Officially Do Not Exist Until Further Notice

Avatar 2,3,4 & 5 Officially Do Not Exist Until Further Notice

[Update: Production is set to begin FINALLY! …  But somehow…  I still don’t buy it…]

Remember when Avatar 2 was set to arrive Christmas 2016!  We could be a few months away from the long gestating sequel to the highest grossing film of all time!  That obviously hasn’t worked out.  But it’s okay…  The film is now set for release Christmas 2017! So we’re just over a year away from the long gestating sequel to the highest grossing film of all time…

…  Nope.  Reports have now surfaced that Avatar 2 has been pushed to Christmas 2018.  You have to assume that the subsequent sequels (Avatar 3,4 & 5) will also suffer delays to MINIMUM 2030, 2042, 2077.

I’m drawing a line in the sand and you have to choose a side.  Team Annoyed is on one side.  If you’re annoyed you are most likely a big fan of the original.  Yet you’re baffled that the first Avatar was unleashed in 2009 and it will likely be a full decade before the sequel arrives.

On the other side of the line is Team Intrigued.  You’re also a fan of the film and you believe the decade long wait will be well worth it.  Why is it taking so long?  Just how ambitious is James Cameron’s quadruple sequel strategy?

At this point I find myself standing right on the line trying to choose a side.  That’s when it hit me.  What if there is a third option in the middle.  Team Indifferent.  There have been so many delays and vague details that I’m starting to ignore the projects completely.

Let’s face it.  There’s NO WAY Avatar 2 will be released in 2018.  Not a chance.  The first film alone took five years to produce including TWO years of intense post production. James Cameron has already stated the sequels will introduce underwater elements and all new technical challenges so I doubt post production will get easier.  Avatar 2 would make its 2018 release date if they were shooting now (maybe) but they aren’t and they are focused on coordinating 4 sequels simultaneously!

I’ll give credit where credit is due.  James Cameron makes amazing movies.  He takes his time but when they arrive, they are always ground breaking experiences.  But I don’t think we’ll see Avatar 2 until at least 2019.  A full 10 years after the first film smashed box office records worldwide.  It’s frustrating as a fan of the original film.  I need them to stop announcing delays.  I don’t want to be on Team Annoyed.

The best way to explain how I feel is to illustrate my point with pizza.  Say you order a pizza on Superbowl Sunday and the operator on the phone says it will be there in 60 minutes.  I love football AND I worked at a pizza place long ago so I know 60 minutes is slightly UNREALISTIC anywhere around kickoff.  Yet still, the operator said 60 minutes so I’m excited the food will arrive before the big game begins.  Except it doesn’t arrive.  Instead the doorbell rings and an overwhelmed delivery boy hands you a warm pizza 97 minutes after you placed the call.

“It’s really busy today” He’ll say.

And you reply “That’s fine but your operator promised 60 minutes despite how busy it is.  Also why are you sweating?  It’s February?”

The point of the story is, you’re upset because you were promised something and they didn’t deliver. (Pun intended)

I wouldn’t be tempted to join Team Annoyed if they just went away.  Stop announcing new release dates.  You don’t have the luxury of staking claims on big weekends years in advance.  Disney can.  They’ve earned that right with the Star Wars and Marvel machines cranking out hits every 4 days. (approx)  Stop putting dates on it!  You aren’t ready.  You know it. I know it.  Sigourney Weaver knows it.

In an ideal world, James Cameron would hold a surprise press conference sometime next year and announce shooting has begun.  He’ll show off concept art, a brief synopsis and answer questions without giving too much away.  Even then he won’t announce a date.  Mr. Cameron…  If you’re listening…  I’ve pre-written your quote when that day comes:

“It’s been a long development process but we are doing something unprecedented.  Something the world has never seen before.  Reaching principle photography is a big step forward but it’s just a small step in the larger picture.  Our production team is working on state of the art visual effects and I don’t feel setting a release date at this time would be fair to my team or to Avatar fans around the world.”

Good!  I’m in.  We got to see something.  We got some momentum and fan expectations are successfully managed.  I’m annoyed because Avatar 2 will DEFINITELY get delayed for a third time in a three year span.  Stop dating it!  Just go away and work on your movies!

…  Still…  Maybe I like the idea of joining Team Intrigued.  The world was a very different place in 2009.  Avatar arrived when the idea of 3D movies was still in its infancy. Then studios tried to force 3D into their films and killed any chance 3D had to thrive.  I’ve reached a point where I wait until a convenient show time appears that isn’t 3D. In my opinion, there’s no point.  In my opinion, we really haven’t had a 3D experience on Avatar’s level since…  Well since Avatar.

How will fans respond in 2027 when Avatar 2 is finally released?

At this point, even if the sequel meets its 2018 release date, James Wan’s Aquaman arrives months earlier.  That film will no doubt feature cutting edge underwater sequences.  Will that film steal some of Avatar’s thunder?

What about Star Wars? Can Avatar go up against a Star Wars spin off in 2018?  Would a studio split the market like that?  Two huge tentpole releases cannot co-exist.  Someone will have to blink.  There’s no way Disney will blink so will we get two big films competing against each other over the coveted Christmas season?

Who am I kidding?  There’s no way Avatar 2 will meet that date.  2018 is off the table as far as I’m concerned.  But wait…  December 2019 is even worse.  How can you possibly compete against Star Wars Episode IX?  Especially if Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII is a big success in 2017?  December 2020 it is?  Or do you shift Avatar into the busy summer months?

I think the 2.8 billion dollars the original Avatar made is historic.  Avatar 2 will no doubt have a giant audience waiting to see what happens next.  But it will be a different world in 2042 when the film is released.  Will Avatar 2’s massive delay help or hinder its box office potential?

The fact is, in the next 57 years we will get FOUR sequels to Avatar.  Some people will argue the original’s story wasn’t that great.  It was the technical element that pushed the film over the top.  Has that focus shifted as audiences matured?  Will we demand a better story or will all new stunning visuals make up for minor forgivable plot holes?

Perhaps there is another option.  James Cameron is one of the most ambitious and talented directors of all time.  He’s directed the top 2 highest grossing films ever. I certainly do not doubt he can deliver four worthy sequels that balance incredible stories with unbelievable special effects.  It’s entirely possible that in 2073 when we have seen Avatar 1-5 he could claim 6 out of the top 10 spots in the box office record books.

It’s possible but 2094 seems so far away at this point.  You could argue 2018 seems just as far away considering we don’t seem to be any closer to an Avatar sequel.  It may as well be 2162…

For now, I think I’m going to choose Team Intrigued.  I care enough about the idea of Avatar 2,3,4 & 5 to follow the production process.  I just wish they would stop slapping fake release dates on the projects.  These movies are coming but until they start filming it’s hard to get excited.

Where do you stand?

2 thoughts on “Avatar 2,3,4 & 5 Officially Do Not Exist Until Further Notice

  1. I have to say, if he keeps changing the dates it will certainly disappoint many fans. I don’t blame him, though. I consider myself a fan and choose to sympathize with James Cameron. It’s not an easy task to be directing the sequel to the biggest B.O. success of all time. I’m sure he’s come across obstacles he didn’t expect to have.

    Nevertheless, I definitely see your point. He doesn’t have to select a release date. My only thought as to why he would is to keep the film in everyone’s minds.

    Either way, I’m excited for the sequels and wish him the best.

    Thanks for this great article, Jason! Take care.

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