Just over a month after the Avatar sequels were all delayed once again, it seems these long-awaited projects are finally starting to inch forward. Today we have word that one of the original Avatar stars, Joel David Moore, has been confirmed to reprise his role as scientist Norm Spellman. After years of delays, production is now scheduled to begin next year, as the cast starts to finally come together.
Original Avatar stars Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri) and Sigourney Weaver (Dr. Grace Augustine) had long been confirmed to reprise their roles from the original, but today’s report from Deadline is the first we’ve heard that Joel David Moore has been confirmed. He also joins the first new cast member, Cliff Curtis (Fear the Walking Dead), who is playing a new character named Tonowari, the leader of the Metkayina, a reef clan from Pandora. This will be a new lead character who will appear in all four of the Avatar sequels.
Director James Cameron announced in late January that all of the Avatar sequel scripts were finally finished, and that motion-capture work would begin this August. However, just a few months later, Avatar 2 was pushed out of its proposed December 2018 release date, before the director made an official announcement about all of the sequels’ release dates last month. Avatar 2 is now slated for release on December 18, 2020, with Avatar 3 arriving December 17, 2021, Avatar 4 coming on December 20, 2024 and Avatar 5 hitting theaters on December 19, 2025. The director also announced that there will be “concurrent production on four sequels,” meaning they will all be shot at the same time.
With this most recent delay, that means fans will have had to wait 11 years between the original Avatar movie and Avatar 2, but James Cameron recently teased that he isn’t worried about this massive time gap. The filmmaker pointed out in his interview that there was a seven-year gap between his 1984 classic The Terminator and its landmark sequel, 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and that there was also a seven year gap between Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien and James Cameron’s 1986 sequel Aliens. The filmmaker also didn’t mention the 12 year gap between his record-breaking box office blockbuster Titanic and the first Avatar, which shattered all of Titanic’s records when it hit theaters in 2009.
Very little is known about these Avatar sequels, but the filmmaker teased in 2013 that they will feature underwater performance capture technology. It isn’t clear how many more actors will be needed to round out the Avatar 2 cast, but now that more are starting to join the sequel, the cast may be rounded out sooner rather than later. Joel David Moore most recently starred as Dr. Colin Fisher on Fox’s Bones, and the feature film Drone. He will next be seen in Killing Winston Jones and The Morning After.