Fox confirmed to Deadline that Zoë Saldana and Sam Worthington have signed up for the next three sequels of James Cameron’s Avatar. The second, third and fourth films are planned for release in December 2016, 2017 and 2018. The sequels are currently untitled and filming dates have not yet been announced, but Fox hopes to start shooting starting in December 2014 or January 2015. Cameron is currently scripting with writers Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds) for Avatar 2, Amanda Silver and Rick Jaff (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) for Avatar 3 and Shane Salerno (Savages) for the fourth film. Jon Landau will also return with Lightstorm Entertainment to produce the next three installments with James Cameron.
The first Avatar was the highest profitable film of all time, making about $2.8 billion in 2009 and won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture. Worthington is cast as the character Jake Sully, a former Marine who fights to protect to the planet called Pandora with the Na’vi people. Zoë Saldana plays Neytiri, a Na’vi princess in the sci-fi fantasy films.
James Cameron also said on the Avatar website yesterday that, “Jake Sully is rare combination of passion, strength, street smarts and soul, which requires a lot from an actor. Sam brought to the role a combination of sensitivity, vulnerability and strength. Zoë captured every aspect of the character I envisioned, bringing to Neytiri a mix of delicacy, fierceness and incredible physicality. I am beyond pleased they’ll be returning with us to Pandora.”