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Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

UPDATED: James Cameron will make four “Avatar” sequels, promising that the films will start hitting theaters in 2018.

The creator of the original “Avatar,” the 2009 fantasy epic that remains the all-time worldwide box office champion, said that his vision for a followup has expanded over time.

He first envisioned two sequels. But after meeting with a team of four screenwriters and a group of “some of the top artists and designers in the world,” he realized that he had way too much material for just two films. He initially decided on three sequels, then jumped to four.

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“So far, what I am seeing in pure imagination is far beyond the first film,” Cameron said. He said that very few people have seen the initial concepts, but a select few have been left “speechless” by what they saw.

“We have decided to embark on a truly massive cinematic project, making four epic films, each of which stands alone but together forms a complete saga,” Cameron said. His announcement came immediately after the director told theater owners he opposes the proposal by Sean Parker’s upstart Screening Room, to bring movies into customers’ homes at the same time they debut in theaters.

In further support of the first-run theatrical experience, Cameron added of the “Avatar” sequels: “Trust me, these are films that were designed to be seen in theaters and on the big screen first.”

The other three films will be released at Christmas-time in 2020, 2022 and 2023. “That is our game plan,” Cameron said.

“The next time I see you will be on Pandora,” Cameron told the theater owners, referring to the mythical land he created with “Avatar.”

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