Avatar Trio of Sequels Planned

Taking a page out of Peter Jackson’s playbook at Weta, James Cameron will make three Avatar sequels, shooting all of them simultaneously beginning next year with consecutive releases set for December 2016, December 2017, and December 2018.

But rather than writing solo, Cameron has enlisted the assistance of screenwriters Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planets of the Apes), and Shane Salerno (SavagesSalinger).

“Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience,” commented Cameron about the number one box office champ. “In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that Avatar’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I’m pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh — all writers I’ve long admired -­ to join me in completing the films screenplays.”

Previously, Cameron discussed doing Avatar 4 as a prequel about early expeditions on Pandora.

At NAB, Lightstorm producer Jon Landau revealed that Avatar 2 would utilize underwater performance capture. ”We could simulate water, but we can’t simulate the actor’s experience so we are going to capture performance in a tank. “We want to take advantage of the technology that people are putting out there to make the next two movies more engaging and visually tantalizing, and wrap up the story arc of our two main characters.”

Joe Letteri and Weta will continue overseeing the VFX. In fact, Autodesk is working with Lightstorm and Weta to make the virtual production process more efficient, allowing Cameron to light scenes for greater image fidelity and more detail, thanks to improvements in MotionBuilder, which Landau demonstrated at SIGGRAPH.

MotionBuilder now loads, saves, and merges files together much faster than before, and is more closely integrated to the editorial workflow. Motion capture and live input data can be recorded to disk in the software’s non-linear editor so Cameron can record multiple takes in rapid sequence; actors can act out their scenes uninterrupted; and stage crew can work instantly with editorial to build and refine shots. Additionally, the software now includes HD SDI video output support, which allows MotionBuilder to be integrated into studio video broadcast systems, designed to introduce zero frames of lag. This will benefit the crew and Weta.

Cameron, like Jackson, is very passionate about high frame rate, but expect his 3-D movies to be shot at 60 fps and to advance the controversial technique considerably.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Below the Line, Movies, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

Add a Comment