James Cameron is still working on the screenplays for his Avatar sequels and will not start shooting until 2013, the filmmaker has confirmed.
"We're not shooting the new Avatar yet," Cameron said in an exclusive interview from Los Angeles. "I'm still in the writing process."
The shoot has also been delayed for two years because Cameron and his technicians are designing an entirely new computerized system to handle more Avatars.
"We're underway in the technical development because we're completely re-vamping the whole pipeline, because we've essentially got to do two movies in the same amount of time that we did one in last time." Future Avatar movies also require more sophisticated digital technology, something Cameron has called "a hideously complex process."
A lot of the work, he explained, is being done by his tech team "while I've been off exploring and building subs and diving." Cameron made history in March by diving solo to the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, on his Challenger Deep Expedition. Then he tried to carve out time to write the scripts for Avatar 2 and Avatar 3.
"I'm essentially in the process of writing right now, which will take me through to the end of the year, and then we start pre-production in January."
Cameron did take time out for a quick world tour to talk up the release of Titanic 3D on Blu-ray, to push plans for future 3D TV broadcasts, to explain plans for more 3D film production (the Cameron Pace Group did the 3D for the new Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away) and to reveal plans for a 3D film of his Challenger Deep adventure. I caught the Canadian-born filmmaker on the phone while he drove to the Los Angeles airport for a flight to Belfast. He joked that, "I'm actually driving to Belfast. It's never been done! And you've got to hold your breath for so long."
On his world tour, Cameron dropped hints of an Avatar 4 -- as a prequel because the forward-moving Avatar 2 and 3 will complete that storyline. Britain's Total Film magazine quoted Cameron as saying a prequel could chronicle "the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na'vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world."
Regardless of a fourth instalment, Avatar 2 will be not be ready for release until 2015.