For years, the endlessly delayed Avatar sequel was like a running joke in Hollywood. It was first announced not long after the original movie became the biggest hit in film history, but kept getting pushed back. Every few years, James Cameron would pop up, concede the movie wasn’t ready yet and wouldn’t come out on time. Then he’d tease even more sequels down the line, and get back to work.

Avatar: The Way of Water finally opened in theaters late last year, and like its predecessor soon became one of the highest-grossing pictures in all of cinema history. Cameron had claimed that part of the reason it took 13 years to get a second Avatar was because he used that extra time to plan not just one sequel but a whole series of movies. He used those years to map out the entire story, and develop the technology needed to bring these films to life.

But now it appears that even 13 years was not quite enough development time, because Disney has just pushed back all of the remaining Avatar sequels. Avatar 3 was scheduled to open in theaters in December of 2024, with Avatarand 5 following in December 2026 and December 2028 respectively. That whole schedule is now out the window.

20th Century Studios
20th Century Studios
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READ MORE: Avatar 3 - What Happens Next After The Way of Water

Instead, Avatar 3 will now arrive for Christmas of 2025, three years after Avatar: The Way of Water debuted. And that’s the schedule Disney is now planning for the following films as well; Avatar 4 will open in theaters three years after Avatar 3, in December 2028, and Avatar 5 will follow three years after that in December 2031 — some 22 years after the release of the original movie.

Cameron turns 69 in August, which means he’ll be in his late 70s by the time this final film is released. If he stays healthy, there’s no reason Cameron can’t keep cranking out Avatars into his senior years, but the amount of work that goes into these movies — and the sheer number of delays he’s already experienced — does make you wonder whether he will be able to see this story all the way through to the end.

Let’s hope so! Avatar is good; The Way of Water is good, and I have no reason to think the subsequent movies won’t be equally good — provided Cameron is the one making all of them.

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