Since 2010, the two highest-grossing movies in American box office history were directed by the same guy. James Cameron‘s 1997 movie Titanic—Oscar winner for Best Picture—was the number one movie for years until his 2009 film Avatar sunk it. Things remained that way until earlier this month when Star Wars: The Force Awakens beat both of them, (though is still behind them in the global market). In the six years since the Avatar phenomenon, we’ve been hearing about the sequels Cameron had been promising, and now it looks like we’ll have to wait even longer.
As reported by The Wrap, the long-gestating sequel, which had been on the docket for Christmases 2014, 2015, 2016, and most recently 2017, has been pushed back even further, with the confirmation that it wouldn’t meet its projected release. Now, we have no clue when exactly the new movie and its proposed follow-ups—a trilogy of sequels that Cameron plans to shoot at the same time in New Zealand—will ever see the light of day. It’s conceivable, given Star Wars: Episode VIII‘s recent move from May 2017 to Christmas 2017, that 20th Century Fox and Cameron are leaving the holiday season alone and will set their eyes on summer releases in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Here’s the kicker the way I see it: Cameron’s two box office juggernauts made their money by being essentially summer blockbusters that opened at Christmas. As we saw with The Force Awakens, families will go see big movies time and time again during a period when their kids are off school. Cameron was, for a time, the only person really doing this, and given the then-state-of-the-art 3D CGI technology of Avatar, it seemed a slam dunk for repeat viewers. But it’s now been eight years since Avatar has was released and people at large seem less excited to see the next one, especially given that it’ll be close to nine years between films if the summer 2018 speculation proves true (though a new release date for the film has yet to be confirmed). Disney and Lucasfilm have all but planted their flag in the holiday season for the foreseeable future, and the Star Wars juggernaut likely won’t make way for more Dances with Wolves starring giant blue cat people.
Avatar 2 will star Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington in the roles they originated, feature some kind of underwater motion capture technology, and Sigourney Weaver might somehow be involved.
Nerdist has reached out for comment from 20th Century Fox but has not received reply at time of publication.
Do you think Avatar 2 will have a chance at unseating Star Wars? Will the movie even come out at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!