Just over 13 months after Sigourney Weaver revealed that James Cameron was planning to make three "Avatar" follow-up films instead of two, the news became official on Thursday. Cameron will co-write the three sequels simultaneously with four different screenwriters.
As reported by Variety, Cameron will collaborate with Josh Friedman ("War of the Worlds"), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver ("Rise of the Planets of the Apes"), and Shane Salerno ("Savages") on the screenplays for "Avatar 2," "Avatar 3" and "Avatar 4." Twentieth Century Fox will release all three films over the course of three years, from 2016 through 2018. It's expected that the "Avatar" sequels will arrive in theaters in December of those respective years.
Whether all three films will indeed be sequels, of course, is up for debate. Cameron told MTV that his idea for "Avatar 4" was of the prequel variety.
"I haven't really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na'vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world," Cameron said in Sept. of 2012. "We'll start, not imitating 'Star Wars,'" Cameron added, "but it's a logical thing to do because we'll have completed the thematic arc by the end of three."
Cameron has long been excited about the prospect of returning to Pandora, the planet where the first "Avatar" is set. "I'm making 'Avatar 2,' 'Avatar 3,' maybe 'Avatar 4,'" Cameron revealed to the New York Times during an interview about the Chinese film industry in 2012. "I'm not going to produce other people's movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts."
Despite that, Cameron was rumored for "The Informationist," an adaptation of Taylor Stevens' novel of the same name. It appears that project never got past the rumor stages.
For more on the "Avatar" sequels, head to Deadline.com.