'Avatar 2' has been delayed again

Avatar (Credit: 20th Century Fox)
Avatar (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

James Cameron's long-awaited Avatar 2, the sequel to his 2008 blockbuster, has been delayed once again.

Disney, which now owns the franchise after it acquired 20th Century Fox in March, has announced that it's bumped the movie's release date back a whole year.

It will now be released on December 17, 2021, rather than the previously slated December 18, 2020, which means that the planned four sequels will also all be similarly delayed.

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This is just the latest delay for the movie, which Cameron originally planned to release in 2014, with Avatar 3 planned for 2015.

Then in 2012 he mentioned that not only might he be shooting the second and third movies back-to-back, but there were also two more movies coming set in the world of Pandora.

But by the time 2015 came, the movie was bumped to 2017, and then the following year, release dates for the four sequels were pencilled in for December 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023.

Then in 2017, Avatar 2 was shifted to December 18, 2020, bumping the sequels along another year too.

This release date perhaps stuck for the longest, with preliminary filming beginning on Avatar 2 and 3 in the summer of 2017 – though even that had to be delayed, remarkably, because Sigourney Weaver was shooting scenes in the series eight finale of ITV show Doc Martin.

Live-action filming on the sequels then started in New Zealand this spring.

It's a hugely ambitious project, but one that saw the first movie becoming the highest-grossing film of the modern era, making $2.78 billion at the worldwide box office.

Cameron has described the movie as being like the Godfather movies in scope, dubbing it 'a generational family saga'.

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He's been pretty upbeat about the fluid release dates in the past.

“I wouldn't call them delays,” he told Vanity Fair in 2017.

“It was highly optimistic that we could start quickly until scripts are written. If there's no scripts, there's nothing, right?

“The scripts took four years. You can call that a delay, but it's not really a delay because from the time we pushed the button to really go make the movies [until now,] we're clicking along perfectly.”

And then on the other hand, he's also been kind of downbeat too, saying in the same interview: “Let's face it, if Avatar 2 and 3 don't make enough money, there's not going to be a 4 and 5.”

Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Oona Chaplin, David Thewlis, Kate Winslet, Giovanni Ribisi, Edie Falco and Stephan Lang, Avatar 2, with its budget of $450 million, arrives (at the moment) on December 17, 2021.