James Cameron is perfectly fine with waiting at least a decade between an original film and a sequel – and it’s going to be at least that long before fans get to see a followup to Avatar after the director shot down reports it would be released next year.
That, by the way, could open the door for Disney and Lucasfilm to push its Han Solo anthology Star Wars film to the Christmas holiday season.
Cameron shared some of his recent projects with The Star‘s Tony Wong, including the world of Avatar, which the director is working on not just one or two sequels – but four of them. All at once. The big news? The Christmas 2018 release is “not happening.”
“We haven’t announced a firm release date. What people have to understand is that this is a cadence of releases. So we’re not making Avatar 2. We’re making Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5. It’s an epic undertaking. It’s not unlike building the Three Gorges Dam.
For those not familiar with the Three Gorges Dam, Cameron is talking about a long-running Chinese dam construction project on the Yangtze River that began in 1994, but wasn’t fully operational until 2012. Not only was there a number of changes made to the dam from the start of the project, but the Chinese government also was in no big hurry to build it – it had been on the drawing board since the early 1930s.
Cameron, however, implored fans to remain patient – work has begun on all the sequels, and they’ll hit theaters at some point.
“I know where I’m going to be for the next eight years of my life. It’s not an unreasonable time frame, if you think about it. It took us four-and-a-half years to make one movie, and now we’re making four.
“We’re full-tilt boogie right now. This is my day job, and pretty soon, we’ll be 24/7. We’re pretty well designed on all our creatures and sets. It’s pretty exciting stuff – I wish I could share with the world.
“But we have to preserve a certain amount of showmanship, and we’re going to draw the curtain when the time is right.”
It’s not like Cameron doesn’t have a history with putting a lot of time between sequels. Terminator 2: Judgment Day wasn’t released until July 1991, nearly seven years after Cameron’s original The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
If Avatar 2 no longer holds the Dec. 21, 2018 film slot – who could take over this very coveted holiday prize?
The most likely candidate at this point is the Han Solo anthology film starring Alden Ehrenreich in the title role. At this point, Disney has Han Solo slotted for May 25, 2018 … but the studio has had a lot of success with Christmas and Star Wars.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned $2.06 billion worldwide, opening Dec. 18, 2015. An anthology followup, Rogue One, picked up $1.05 billion with a release a year later.
Disney hopes to continue that this Christmas with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, part of the Force Awakens trilogy, which will feature the full return of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.
The Han Solo film, however, found itself as a May tentpole rather than Christmas like its cousins. It’s a comfortable slot with somewhat minimal competition – Avengers: Infinity War is at the beginning of the month, but Paramount’s Transformers 6 is set to hit theaters the next weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.
Christmas is much lighter, however. While Mary Poppins Returns will capture some family audiences, there isn’t much else there except a yet-to-be-announced “event” film from Warner Bros. If Avatar 2 has indeed moved out of the slot, then it’s very possible Han Solo could move in.
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