Yesterday’s news that James Cameron has hired Black Dahlia screenwriter Josh Friedman to work on Avatar 2 with him was apparently just the tip of the iceberg lurking in Pandora’s oceans (assuming Pandora’s oceans have cold enough zones for icebergs, which remains to be seen). Regardless, Cameron has now made good on his statement of May last year about being the Avatar business, confirming he’ll make Avatar 2, 3 and 4 ready for release in a year apart from 2016 onwards.
It appears that spending time in New Zealand working on the stories has allowed some of Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings spirit to creep into Cameron's already workaholic brain. Now Cameron and 20th Century Fox have gone public with the announcement that, in addition to Friedman, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes co-writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and Savages scribe Shane Salerno will each take co-scribbling duties on the three new trips to Pandora. Salerno has form collaborating with Cameron, as he worked on the as-yet-unmade new version of Fantastic Voyage.
“Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. 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," says Cameron. "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.”
The current production plan is for Cameron to go full Jackson and shoot all three simultaneously starting next year, with each writer (or writers in Jaffa and Silver’s case) working on one script. As for release? Expect Avatar 2 in December 2016, followed by the third in 2017 and the fourth in, you guessed it, 2018. Sound off as to whether this makes you thrilled or gives you a serious case of the movie blues…