While Hollywood productions are still shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the producers of Avatar revealed that the sequel series would start up production again next week in New Zealand.
“Our #Avatar sets are ready — and we couldn’t be more excited to be headed back to New Zealand next week,” producer Jon Landau wrote on Instagram Friday.
Avatar 2 would be the first major film to resume production since the shutdown began, Variety reports. That’s partly due to New Zealand’s widely praised response to the coronavirus pandemic, which included lockdowns, travel bans and aggressive testing and contact tracing. As a result, TV and film productions in the island nation were given the go-ahead to resume working.
As of now, despite the shutdown, Avatar 2 is still set for release on December 17th, 2021. Director James Cameron is reportedly filming the four sequels simultaneously, with the third, fourth and fifth movies scheduled for December 2023, December 2025 and December 2027.
Amazon’s in-the-works Lord of the Rings TV series — like its big-screen predecessor — was similarly in production in New Zealand when the pandemic struck, but it’s unclear when that production will resume.