James Cameron was a surprise guest during Fox's presentation at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Thursday and the filmmaker had quite an announcement. There will now be four Avatar sequels, rather than the previously announced three, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "We have decided to embark on a truly massive cinematic process," Cameron said.
The reason for the expansion is Cameron felt three films would not be enough to complete the tale. "We began to bump up against the limitations of our art form," he explained.
While he maintained the need for four sequels, he said that each of the films could stand alone while they also work in conjunction for the saga. He said he's aiming to release Avatar 2 by Christmas 2018, which is two years beyond its initial drop date. Cameron added that the final three films in the series would be released in 2020, 2022 and 2023.
"I've been working the last couple of years with a team of four top screenwriters to design the world of Avatar going forward: The characters, the creatures, the environment, the new cultures.
"So far, the art I'm seeing is, in pure imagination, really far beyond the first film," he said. "It's going to be a true epic saga."
Avatar had previously held the record for the top domestic grossing film in history, with a $760.5 million gross during its theatrical run. However, it was surpassed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which grossed $760.6 million domestically.