It has been seven years since James Cameron’s Avatar first came to the big screens. Its use of CGI and 3D technology wowed audiences and critics alike, and it has been known for a fair while that there was always intended to be sequels. However, it appears that Cameron is not satisfied with stretching the limits of cinema technology anymore, as he is determined to stretch the limits of his own directing ability as well as the acting skill of his crew.
In much the same way as The Lord of the Rings was filmed, the four subsequent Avatar movies will all be filmed concurrently – that is, all as “one big production”.
In an interview with Famous Monsters of Filmland, Cameron described how the creation of what he hopes will be yet another blockbuster will not exactly be the industry standard.
“It’s not back-to-back. It’s really all one big production. It’s more the way you would shoot a miniseries,” he said.
“So Monday I might be doing a scene from Movie Four, and Tuesday I’m doing a scene from Movie One.”
You can imagine how much of a strain this could be on not only Cameron himself but on the film crew and, perhaps especially, the actors.
“It’s going to be a big challenge to keep it all fixed in our minds, exactly where we are, across that story arc at any given point,” Cameron explained.
“It’s going to be probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’m sure the actors will be challenged by that as well.”
While the filming is set to be concurrent, the films certainly will not be. It is not unusual for films within a single universe (such as the Marvel movies) to be released across a very specific timetable, but it appears that the Avatar movies will also be held to a stringent calendar for their debuts. Fans can expect the second film in the series as early as Christmas 2018, but will have to wait another eight years to see the fourth and final title in the series.
Cameron’s methods may be unusual and difficult, but his results speak for themselves. The film world will surely wait with bated breath to see if he and his crew and keep up and keep track of this ambitious task.