With an unusually long production time between the two movies, fans of "Avatar" finally have an answer for why it'll take the better part of a decade before the sequel hits theaters.
Like he did with the original "Avatar," director James Cameron says he's waiting for technology to come around -- and in this case, he's pushing for 3D without the cumbersome glasses currently required.
"I’m still very bullish on 3D, but we need brighter projection, and ultimately I think it can happen — with no glasses," Cameron said. "We’ll get there.”
Cameron made the remarks on Oct. 28 at a gala by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, where he was honored with the group's Progress Medal, which The Hollywood Reporter describes as the society's most prestigious award.
"Avatar" was released in 2009 to lukewarm reviews of its story, but near-universal praise for its visuals, which featured 3D on a scale never seen before in cinema. Taking advantage of new technologies, Cameron's movie featured breathtaking bioluminescent jungles, majestic islands floating in the sky, and a world full of strange alien fauna and flora.
"Avatar" remains the highest-grossing film of all time, earning $2.7 billion to top Cameron's earlier megahit, "Titanic," which earned almost $2.2 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. Adjusted for inflation, "Avatar" trails only 1940's "Gone With the Wind" as the biggest moneymaker in cinema history.
"Avatar 2" is slated for 2018. After that, Cameron says there will be three more movies in the franchise, for a total of five, reports Cinema Blend.
Cameron hasn't said much about the plots of those sequels, except to say they'll follow the lives of the protagonists, played by Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, as they raise a family and defend their planet from human miners.
But he had plenty to say about the visual effects and technology he hopes to employ, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the film will include 4k resolution, high dynamic range imaging -- a technology designed to mimic lifelike luminosity -- and advanced technologies in digitally rendering things like water and fire.
“Movies are going to look better than they’ve ever looked," Cameron said. "They already do and they are going to continue [to look better]. Anything we can imagine, we can put on the screen.”