James Cameron Now Planning 3 ‘Avatar’ Sequels, First Set for December 2016

James Cameron Now Planning 3 'Avatar' Sequels, First Set for December 2016

Both Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are expected to return

20th Century Fox and James Cameron have set “Avatar 2” for a December 2016 release, and are wedging in yet another sequel — with “Avatar 3” and “Avatar 4” coming in December 2017 and 2018.

As TheWrap exclusively reported yesterday, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” creator Josh Friedman has been brought on to write one of the sequels. Joining him will be Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who wrote “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” for Fox, as well as Shane Salerno, who previously worked with Cameron on “Fantastic Voyage.”

Also read: James Cameron Recruits ‘Terminator’ Series Creator Josh Friedman For ‘Avatar 2' (Exclusive)

Cameron will collaborate with the writers on the sequels.

The “Avatar” sequels will be shot simultaneously, and both Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are expected to return along with Joe Letteri and his WETA Digital, which helped Cameron realize the world he imagined for “Avatar.”

“Building upon the world we created with ‘Avatar’ has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that ‘Avatar's’ world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I’m pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh — all writers I’ve long admired -­ to join me in completing the films screenplays,” said Cameron.

“We at the studio have no higher priority, and can feel no greater joy, than enabling Jim to continue and expand his vision of the world of ‘Avatar.’ The growing breadth and scale of Jim Cameron’s plans for his magnificent fantasy worlds continue to amaze us all,” said Jim Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox.

In addition to receiving nine Oscar nominations, “Avatar” is the highest-grossing film of all-time, having earned nearly 2.8 billion worldwide. It is also the top-selling Blu-ray disc of all time.