The first Avatar film was a big deal when it was released in 2009. It felt like the first true science fiction epic in years, and more importantly, it was the herald of new 3D techniques in movies (something that's still going strong). It wasn't necessarily a perfect movie, but it served as a solid foundation - the single film was bound to become a franchise.
Plans for a sequel to Avatar were announced even before the first movie debuted. When the original became a global success, many believed that work would begin immediately...and that was back in 2009. Fans have yet to see any sign, or even a glimpse of a sequel. Director James Cameron has stated that work on the films has continued, but fans still have yet to see anything concrete. The last news to come from the production was that Avatar 2 would see a release in 2016, and the third and fourth movies would follow.
Unfortunately, that's not the case anymore: while speaking with the Associated Press, Cameron confirmed that the sequel to Avatar won't be hitting theaters until late 2017.
"There's a layer of complexity in getting the story to work as a saga across three films that you don't get when you're making a stand-alone film," the director said.
Of course, working on three films at once is tricky, but Cameron is still hoping that the scripts for all three sequels will be done by the end of January, stating: "We're writing three simultaneously. And we've done that so that everything tracks throughout the three films. We're not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that."
It's disappointing news, especially since it's been almost six years since the original film debuted...and there's still nearly two years left to go. Even a trailer is likely years away, and Avatar 3 and 4 could get released near the end of the decade. While Avatar was incredibly well-received, few would say that any film could keep its momentum going for that long.
Then again, if a film makes $2.8 billion dollars at the box office, there's no real rush to get anything done, is there?