Cameron offered the updates during a video chat with former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred in Cameron’s “The Terminator,” as part of the 2020 Austrian World Summit. Disney announced in July that it had moved the Avatar sequels back a year with “Avatar 2” set for Dec. 16, 2022; “Avatar 3” slated for Dec. 20, 2024; “Avatar 4” to debut on Dec. 18, 2026; and “Avatar 5” on Dec. 22, 2028.
“COVID hit us like it hit everybody,” he said. “We lost about four and a half months of production. As a result of that, we’ve rolled around one more full year for a release in December of 2022. That’s been announced already.”
“Now that doesn’t mean I have an extra year to finish the film because the day we deliver ‘Avatar 2,’ we’ll just start working on finishing ‘Avatar 3,'” Cameron said. “So where we are right now, I’m down in New Zealand shooting, we’re shooting the remainder of the live-action. We’ve got about 10% left to go. We’re 100% complete on ‘Avatar 2’ and we’re sort of 95% complete with ‘Avatar 3.'”
The second “Avatar” installment, which was originally aiming to open in 2014, will debut 13 years after the original “Avatar.”
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“We’re very lucky in that we chose this as our production site years ago,” he told Schwarzenegger. “We made the first film here in New Zealand and it turns out to be ranking first or second-best country in the world for its COVID response.”
Producer Jon Landau announced on May 21 that he and the “Avatar” cast and crew would be returning to New Zealand to resume production. The “Avatar” sequels had to halt production in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cameron gave no details to Schwarzenegger on the plot for the sequels. “I can’t tell you anything about the story. I believe in the mystery and the great reveal.”
Discussion of the “Avatar” films begins at the 9:30-mark: