James Cameron is a filmmaker who has now become infamous for taking his time, but the time is worth it. The man did direct what was the biggest film of all time for its time in 1997 with Titanic, and then followed it up with Avatar in 2009, which became the biggest film of all time, again. We have previously reported that James Cameron was planning three sequels to Avatar, but now the word is that there will actually be four sequels.
Yahoo Movies reports that Cameron has announced four sequels, as the director has said "we have decided to embark on a truly massive cinematic process". He also said that he found it limiting when he was working on just three films, and "began to bump up against the limitations for our art form".
So what will the sequels be about? Cameron is of course keeping that quiet, but it will probably involve Jake Sully going up against the corporation that tried to exploit what is now his home planet of Pandora the first time. If that company comes back with a bigger army, then Jake and his Na'vi allies could take the war to Earth. It is a story that gets very, very epic with is galactic scale, and it is pretty clear why Cameron needs four more movies for it.
What it really boils down to is that more sequels are needed so Cameron can tell his story. There is a trend in Hollywood where films series that are based on books are getting more sequels than there are books. The Harry Potter, Twilight, and Divergent series are proof of that. The reason for that isn't just to milk the money out of two sequels, but the last book in a series often has a lot of action that takes a lot of screen time, so two films are actually required to tell the whole story. There are examples of this coming off as drawing out the story, which was a criticism of the three Hobbit movies. Fortunately, Cameron is creating his own source material, so if he needs more films to tell the story, he is competent enough to do it.
Still, it can't be easy on the studio to get funding for this. Sure, the first Avatar film was able to produce 2.8 billion dollars worldwide, but it has a massive budget of over $300 million. If the film had been a flop, it would have been an embarrassment for the studio and for Cameron's reputation.
James Cameron, the once proclaimed "king of the world" is competent, and all the years he has been planning for the Avatar sequel should be worth it. Right now, he's probably got the studio worried for the money that he is no doubt demanding for the Avatar sequels, but these same studios will be smiling after seeing the box office revenues.
In the meantime, audiences will have to wait over two years for the next film, as Avatar 2 plans to be released around Christmas of 2018. The last films of the series will be released in 2020, 2021, and 2022.