Wellington Scoop

Weta Digital – “the best in the world” – starts work on four Avatar sequels


Weta Digital has announced it has begun work on the four Avatar sequels. The announcement is reported in Screen Daily, the British trade paper.

Joe Letteri is the current director of Weta Digital.

Screen Daily quotes a statement from Avatar director James Cameron: “What Joe Letteri and Weta Digital bring to these stories is impossible to quantify. Since we made Avatar, Weta continued to prove themselves as doing the best CG animation, the most human, the most alive, the most photo-realistic effects in the world. And of course, that now means I can push them to take it even further.”

Avatar producer Jon Landau said the four sequels “promise to be even more ambitious than the first film”.

Letteri added: “Avatar is the ideal type of film for us. Jim’s vision for the world of Pandora was always so much bigger than what we created for the first film. Helping him expand the language of cinema through new narratives set in such an expansive universe is the type of opportunity that rarely comes along twice. Projects like this allow everyone involved to push themselves to do their best work and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”

The Hollywood Reporter also reports that production has started in Wellington, quoting Landau as saying:

“The depth of talent at Weta is impressive and the culture of excellence is one that matches how we do things at Lightstorm. We also know that these next films promise to be even more ambitious than the first film. And, we know from experience that when it comes to technical innovation Weta is peerless.”

The four Avatar sequels are being filmed simultaneously, with releases scheduled for December 18, 2020 for Avatar 2, December 17, 2021 for Avatar 3, December 20, 2024 for Avatar 4, and December 19, 2025 for Avatar 5.

The Oscar-winning Wellington-based Weta Digital, created by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk, worked on the original Avatar, which grossed $US2.7billion at the worldwide box office.

The Hollywood Reporter quotes Weta Digital executive producer David Conley as saying that the company has been expanding.

“This enables us to find a mix of other films that can help us grow along with Avatar, as is the case with Alita: Battle Angel, Marvel’s Infinity War and Mortal Engines, to name a few of the other films we are working on.”

Weta’s recent work includes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, War for the Planet of the Apes and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.