It’s been over ten years since Avatar debuted and quickly went on to become the biggest film in the history of the medium. James Cameron has spent much of that time working on sequels, which have been pushed back several times as the project ballooned to encompass four more Avatar movies, and as his series’ studio, Fox, got acquired by Disney. Barring any further delays, we’re finally about one year away from the release of the first of the films.

With the countdown to the sequels finally on, Cameron spoke to Entertainment Weekly, and provided a detailed look at the project. He described the outrageous lengths he went to to capture his vision, which involved taking the Avatar story underwater, where much of Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 were set, among a new clan of Na’vi known as the Metkayina. That meant building a special underwater tank to film the movie’s raw footage to be used for performance capture — and because air bubbles would have messed up with the capture technology, each actor “had to train with professional divers until they could free dive, holding their breath for minutes at a time.”

It got even wilder than that:

Cameron says 72-year-old Sigourney Weaver, who's returning in a top secret new role after dying in the first film, could easily hold her breath for six and a half minutes, while new cast member Kate Winslet ‘blew everybody away when she did a seven-and-a-half-minute breath hold.’ Avatar 2 marks a reunion between Cameron and his Titanic star Winslet; here, the 46-year-old Oscar and Emmy winner plays one of the Metkayina, a mysterious character named Ronal.

EW’s article also features the first look at a shot (or extremely detailed concept art?) from the film:

The films sound wildly ambitious — you’ve got to be pretty ambitious to make four sequels back to back to back to back before releasing any of them. Let’s hope they finally start coming out on time next year. Avatar 2 (that’s not the official title, which hasn’t been announced yet) is scheduled to open in theaters on December 16, 2022. The three sequels are expected to follow every other year, in 2024, 2026, and 2028.

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