James Cameron doesn't plan on closing Pandora's box anytime soon.
The Oscar winner announced today that not two, but three sequels to his 2009 smash-hit Avatar are now in the works, enough to keep us all in Na'vi blue for the next five years. Per 20th Century Fox, Avatar 2, 3 and 4 will be shot simultaneously, with production kicking off next year, and will be released in December of 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.
If the first visually dazzling film in the bunch is anything to go by, all three will look amazing—and, just maybe, not quite like anything we've ever seen before.
To ensure that he doesn't deplete his own creative resources, Cameron is bringing screenwriters Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Shane Salerno (Savages) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver aboard to help him work on the three scripts.
"Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience," Cameron said in a statement. "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."
In addition to three Oscars for visual effects, cinematography and art direction and Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Picture, Drama, Avatar is also currently the highest-grossing film at the box office of all time, both in the U.S. and worldwide (second only to Cameron's Titanic, of course), with $2.78 billion in global ticket sales.
An "incredibly rewarding experience," indeed.
"We at the studio have no higher priority, and can feel no greater joy, than enabling Jim to continue and expand his vision of the world of Avatar," stated 20th Century Fox chairman and CEO Jim Gianopoulos. "The growing breadth and scale of Jim Cameron's plans for his magnificent fantasy worlds continue to amaze us all."
Since his last king-of-the-world success, Cameron's Venice, Calif.-based special effects company Digital Domain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2012 and was acquired by China's Galloping Horse and Reliance MediaWorks, but Lightstorm Entertainment, cofounded by Cameron and business partner Jon Landau, is still ensconsed in nearby Manhattan Beach.
As with the first film, Lightstorm will collaborate on the three Avatar sequels with Peter Jackson's Weta Digital, which is based in Wellington, New Zealand.
What do you think? Avatar overload or can you not get enough of Cameron's alternate universe?