‘Avatar’ sequels: James Cameron confirms the first of 4 coming in 2020

A scene from 2009 blockbuster 'Avatar.'. 20th Century Fox

Looks like we’ll have a while to wait before we head back to Pandora.

Canadian director James Cameron has set the release dates for the next four Avatar sequels, with the first to hit theatres in 2020.

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The movie’s Facebook page posted a photo on Saturday of Cameron and his massive film crew, who have been working on all four films simultaneously. The post said Avatar 2 will hit theatres Dec. 18, 2020, and Avatar 3 comes a year later, on Dec. 17, 2021.

The franchise then takes a three-year hiatus before returning with Avatar 4 on Dec. 20, 2024, and Avatar 5 on Dec. 19, 2025. The first sequel had been expected in 2018 but Cameron this year said that timetable wouldn’t be met.

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Many Twitter users wasted no time in joking about Cameron’s long-tail (pun intended) schedule.

Others were genuinely excited for the upcoming movies.

Sigourney Weaver, Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Stephen Lang, all stars of the original movie, are said to be returning for the sequels (even though Weaver’s character died).

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“It’s going to be a true epic saga that’s told in this rich and complex world,” said Cameron to the crowd at last year’s CinemaCon, explaining why there are four movies coming. “But we’ve begun to bump up against the limitations of our art form. There’s just too much story, and too many great visual ideas for two sequels. So we talked to Fox and we expanded it to three sequels. And then as the writing process has continued, and now that the script work is finishing up, it’s not three. It looks like it’s four.”

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The original 2009 Avatar film netted over $2.7 billion and won three Oscars for its visual effects. The movie franchise centres on the conflict between humans and the blue-skinned alien race, the Na’vi, of the distant planet Pandora.

— With files from The Associated Press