James Cameron announces four Avatar sequels in annual update

What with Avatar being the highest-grossing movie of all time, it's got to make you wonder why it's taking James Cameron so long to get the ball rolling on the sequel. The first movie opened back in 2009 and since then the director has teased three further installments without actually making any.

Depending on how you feel about that, this latest spot of news will either make you roll your eyes or punch the air: we're getting four sequels between now and 2023. Avatar 2, originally scheduled for December 2016, opens Christmas 2018, Avatar 3 is due Christmas 2020, Avatar 4 on Christmas 2021, and Avatar 5 on - you guessed it! - Christmas 2022.

So, why the need to spread things out across so many titles? According to Cameron, who made the announcement at CinemaCon (opens in new tab), "We’ve decided to embark on a truly massive cinematic process. We’ve begun to bump up against the limitation of our art form. There's just too much story." He added that each successive film won't necessarily follow on from one another, but instead, work together like.... a cinematic universe. “Each one [of the sequels] stands alone but together form a complete saga, a true epic saga told in this rich complex world.”

Cameron's enthusiasm for such an ambitious proposal is exciting, especially when he's churning out golden sound bites like this - “In pure imagination, it’s far beyond the first film.” We've heard so much from him over the years on the topic, that it's easy to brush this latest news off as more lip service. One solution? He should just unleash a teaser trailer when no-one expects it.

However Cameron chooses to proceed, Fox clearly has a lot of faith in him being able to deliver the goods. And deliver, he'd better! Those Christmas release dates are also shared by a small Disney franchise called Star Wars.

Images: Fox

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.