The “Avatar” sequels are officially back in production three months after filming was suspended over the coronavirus pandemic. Producer Jon Landau took to social media to share a first look at director James Cameron resuming filming on the “Avatar” sequels. The first look photo shows a handful of crew members wearing face masks and nearly every crew member socially distant from one another. Cameron and his “Avatar” team all spent the last two weeks in a government-mandated quarantine prior to returning to set.
With Cameron back in the director’s chair, the “Avatar’ sequels become the first major Hollywood production to resume filming amid the pandemic. Universal Pictures announced this week it’s aiming to return to filming on “Jurassic World: Dominion” by the first week of July, which would make that film the first major Hollywood movie to be back in production in the United Kingdom. At this point, no other studio projects have announced a return date to production.
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Cameron confirmed last December that all the motion capture work on “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3” had been completed. The crew was planning to return to New Zealand in the spring to complete the live-action pickups needed on “Avatar 2” when the coronavirus disrupted those plans. Production on the “Avatar 2” sequels was officially suspended March 17.
In a May interview with Empire magazine, Cameron admitted the “Avatar” production shutdown was putting a “major crimp” in the crew’s stride. The director said, “I want to get back to work on ‘Avatar,’ which right now we’re not allowed to do under state emergency laws or rules. So it’s all on hold right now. We were about to shoot down in New Zealand, so that got pushed. We’re trying to get back to it as quick as we can.”
The New Zealand government granted permission to Cameron and his “Avatar” team to return to New Zealand this month to resume filming. The decision has proven polarizing for some politicians, as Cameron has been allowed to return to work while many other homegrown New Zealand industries remain on pause. “Avatar” is one of two Hollywood productions that have reentered the country, both of which the government says provide employment to over 600 New Zealanders.
“Avatar 2” is scheduled to open in theaters from Disney on December 17, 2021.
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