It's been nearly five years since James Cameron wowed the world with Avatar, and though three sequel films are definitely in the works, fans will need to continue waiting for more tales from Pandora.
The first sequel film, which is scheduled for release in 2016, was officially delayed so Cameron could focus on another passionate pet project of his-a documentary about deepsea diving titled Deepsea Challenge 3D, which is set to release in theaters this Friday.
According to The New York Post, the film, which follows Cameron and his team as they attempt to take a submersible to the deepest depths of the ocean-36,000 feet into the Mariana Trench-- resulted in the acclaimed director pushing the sequel films back, despite the news upsetting fans.
"Yeah, you'd have to ask Jim that, but I'm sure they [weren't]," Deepsea co-director John Bruno told the newspaper. "[But] as the film slowly reveals, this was Jim's passion, always."
However, fans can be somewhat appeased that the release of the documentary can free the director up to continue working on the additional films in the series, which are scheduled to begin production later this year-and despite being released in separate years, are all scheduled to be shot at the same time, according to actress Zoe Saldana, who will reprise her role of Neytiri.
Speaking to The Daily Mirror July 25 about her latest role in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, the 36-year-old actress revealed that the production process for the sequel would be a grueling process for the actors because of the proposed shooting schedule-which could take nearly a year.
"James Cameron is still working on the final draughts of the script and then everyone in the cast will get the call," she said. "We're going to be shooting mainly in Los Angeles and that will make things easier for me since I live there. Because we're doing the sequels back-to-back it's going to take at least eight or nine months or more to finish the (three) films."
The decision to release three sequel films was revealed last year, after the original movie became the highest-grossing film of all-time, with a worldwide take of $2.788 billion, giving director James Cameron the two-best grossing films of all-time and beating his 1997 masterpiece, Titanic, by $600 million.
Avatar 2 is scheduled for a December 2016 release, Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 are scheduled for release in 2017 and 2018.