James Cameron announces ‘Avatar’ sequels

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James Cameron, director of top-grossing ($2.8 billion) movie Avatar has announced that there will be two sequels set in the universe of the exotic moon Pandora. Both films will be shot in 3D, like the first, and will feature storylines starring Sam Worthington as Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana as Neytiri.

The original movie took about a decade to come to fruition, most of the delay resulting because technology in the 90’s was not yet sophisticated enough for what Cameron had in mind for Avatar. Afterwards, it took around four years of production time for Avatar to perfect the usage of its motion-capture and computer-generated imagery technology. The sequels, however, will take much less time now that the production team is more familiar with the CGI technology, and the templates for the CG characters and settings have already been created.

“We were doing a lot of pioneering work on Avatar. It wouldn’t have taken as long if we already knew exactly how to do it,” explains Cameron, “My next goal is to refine the technique, make it easier so it doesn’t take as long.”

Twentieth Century Fox is full of praises for James Cameron’s work, particularly for the way Avatar, as a spokesman for the company puts it, “raised the consciousness of people worldwide to some of the greatest issues facing our planet.” They are fully backing Cameron’s work on the sequels: “We had no higher priority, and can feel no greater joy, than enabling Jim [Cameron] to continue and expand his vision of the world of Avatar.”

Cameron plans to start writing the scripts early next year, and to begin filming at the end of 2011. If the films reach their target release dates, the sequels will air in 2014 and 2015. Cameron has yet to announce whether he will be shooting the sequels back-to-back, or whether he will take on another film in between production.

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