News is slowly starting to creep out of the production for James Cameron's Avatar sequels. We know that he's planning three of them, and that they will be shot back-to-back-to-back. But we can now report that shooting won't begin until Dec 2014/Jan 2015, as they look to stay on schedule for a December 2016 release for the first film. Deadline is reporting that the current plan would be to shoot all of the sure-to-be extensive motion capture work first, then shift to live-action.
We also know that Cameron has enlisted the talents of several other writers to help him make his next three films as strong as possible. He's currently collaborating with Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds) on the second film, with Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planets of the Apes) on the third, and he'll be completing the fourth with Shane Salerno (Savages, Salinger).
Cameron also just took part in announcing that Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington have finalized their deals to return for all three films:
"Jake Sully is a rare combination of passion, strength, street smarts and soul, which requires a lot from an actor. Sam brought to the role a combination of sensitivity, vulnerability and strength. Zoe captured every aspect of the character I envisioned, bringing to Neytiri a mix of delicacy, fierceness and incredible physicality. I am beyond pleased they'll be returning with us to Pandora."
Up until now, the only major returning cast member had been Stephen Lang- whose character had seemingly died at the end of the first film.
So now, with writers in place, a timeline for the production, and his stars lined up, it looks like Cameron is just about ready to begin his voyage back to Pandora. I, for one, can't wait to see where all this goes. The man has done no wrong so far in his career, as far as I'm concerned.