James Cameron has confirmed that filming is complete on Avatar 2 and is almost done on Avatar 3. The two films are wrapping up back-to-back production in New Zealand.
The middle chapters of a planned five-film series, the two films are follow-ups to Avatar, released in 2009 to become the highest-grossing movie of all time between that year and 2019, when Avengers: Endgame supplanted it. The two films have had a monumental shooting schedule, with production beginning in August 2017. Like the original Avatar, the films have incorporated motion capture, fully live-action setpieces shot on sets and location, and a massive post-production schedule incorporating cutting-edge CGI from multiple effects houses.
The production of Avatar 2 has been complicated by the film's setting, which incorporates a large amount of underwater shooting and underwater mocap.
The film sees the return of original cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver. Weaver is playing a different character to her role in the original film, but Lang's role is less clear. New castmembers include Michelle Yeoh, Jemaine Clement, Vin Diesel, Game of Thrones actress Oona Chaplin and former Cameron collaborator Kate Winslet.
Avatar pioneered the use of 3D in cinemas and is still regarded as the best example of 3D film-making ever achieved, despite several later attempts. Cameron has occasionally suggested that the four Avatar sequels may be available in "glasses-free" 3D, although it seems unlikely the technology will be available in just two years.
Avatar 2 is currently scheduled for release on 16 December 2022, with Avatar 3 to follow on 20 December 2024. Apparently some scenes for Avatar 4 were also shot as part of the 2/3 filming block, with Avatar 4 and 5 currently pencilled in for release in 2026 and 2028.