Though franchise producer John Landau previously predicted that audiences wouldn't be seeing an "Avatar 2" until at least 2015, James Cameron has now seemingly confirmed it in a recent New York Times profile.
"The 'Avatar' sequels, Mr. Cameron said, will almost certainly be shot in Mr. Jackson’s Wellington production studio, about 15 minutes by helicopter from Pounui," writes the newspaper of Cameron's plans to base the production in New Zealand, which "Hobbit" director Peter Jackson has almost single-handedly transformed into a go-to destination for filmmakers. "Visual effects will be completed at nearby Weta Digital, owned by Mr. Jackson and his partners, though motion-capture work on the 'Avatar' sequels will still be done on a stage in California. 'Avatar 2' will not be ready until 2015 or later, at least a year past the 2014 date Fox executives once had in mind."
Pounui, in case you were wondering, is a New Zealand town near which Cameron has (controversially) spent an estimated $16 million buying up 2,500 acres of farmland that will double as Pandora in the upcoming sequels, at least two of which Cameron will allegedly be shooting back-to-back (the potential for a third sequel has been teased but not yet confirmed by the filmmaker). As noted above, the motion-capture (often referred to as "performance capture") work so integral to the films will still be shot on a California soundstage, as it was for the first movie.
Nevertheless, don't expect production to ramp up anytime in the near future, as Cameron is still in the scripting stages - though he does plan on relocating to Pounui with his family this fall to get them acclimated to what will become their new home for at least part of the year.
Peter Jackson, for his part, is just happy to have some of the pressure off - with Cameron around to hold down the fort, he insinuates, maybe he can actually relax for awhile after completing production on what he recently confirmed as his trilogy of "Hobbit" films.
“Maybe I can go wander off on a beach somewhere now,” he told the Times with a smile (we'll assume he was joking). Indeed, is it even rational to suggest that Peter Jackson of all people would lie around dormant while his fellow director establishes his own massive filmmaking operation in his home country? According to Cameron, he needn't worry.
“I’m not there to compete with Peter," he said.
How do you feel about having to wait until at least 2015 for "Avatar 2"? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments!