After years of delays and then having production halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming “Avatar” sequels may be moving forward.
Production on the long-awaited sequels to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster was stopped due to the pandemic, but a social media post from “Avatar” producer Jon Landau indicates that filming in New Zealand may be resuming as early as next week.
“Our #Avatar sets are ready — and we couldn’t be more excited to be headed back to New Zealand next week,” wrote Landau in an Instagram post on Thursday. “Check out the Matador, a high speed forward command vessel (bottom) and the Picador jetboat (top) — can’t wait to share more.”
Back in March, the New Zealand Herald reported that James Cameron’s four scheduled sequels to the 2009 smash hit have been forced to stop production as a result of the global coronavirus outbreak.
Asked when crews might be getting back to work on the films, at the time Landau told the Herald, “I can’t give you an answer.”
He added: “If I told you we are going to know something in two weeks I’d be lying. I might not be wrong — even a broken clock is right twice a day. But I would be lying because I don’t know.”
Speaking about the decision to halt production, Landau said, “We’re in the midst of a global crisis and this is not about the film industry. I think everybody needs to do now whatever we can do, as we say here, to flatten the [coronavirus] curve.”
The “Avatar” sequels were scheduled to hit theatres every two years beginning December 2021; whether that timeline remains intact after the delay remains to be seen.
As Deadline reported earlier this month, the government of New Zealand endorsed health and safety protocols for TV and film production, allowing production to restart after being halted in March.
The New Zealand Film Commission confirmed to Deadline that some film and TV productions “are already safely underway;” other big-ticket productions that were shut down included Amazon Prime Video’s “Lord of the Rings” series, which may also resume filming soon.