‘Avatar’: James Cameron delays next film to 2017 because of script ‘complexity’

Writer-director admits he was 'a bit ambitious' with the film's original 2016 release date

James Cameron has delayed the first sequel to Avatar so that he can spend longer perfecting its script.

Writer-director Cameron is working on three sequels to his 2009 blockbuster – the highest-grossing film of all time – and plans to release them one a year for three consecutive years. Originally, the first sequel was supposed to come out in late 2016, but Cameron has now pushed it back to late 2017.

“We were probably a bit ambitious with that date to begin with,” Cameron admitted at an event in Wellington, New Zealand today (January 14) attended by the Associated Press. “There’s a layer of complexity in getting the story to work as a saga across three films that you don’t get when you’re making a standalone film.”

Cameron went on to give an update on the sequels’ status, explaining: “We’re writing three simultaneously. And we’ve done that so that everything tracks throughout the three films. We’re not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that. And parallel with that, we’re doing all the design. So we’ve designed all the creatures and the environments.”

Released in 2009, Avatar became the highest-grossing film ever after raking in nearly $2.8 billion (£1.8 billion) at cinemas worldwide. It was nominated for nine Oscars the following year, taking home three in technical categories. Cameron shot the original film in New Zealand and will also shoot the sequels there after making a preferential tax deal with the country’s government.