After a whole lot of nothing, we are getting news on all four upcoming Avatar sequels today thanks for an appearance by producer Jon Landau at the recent IMAX Q&A for Alita: Battle Angel. Thanks to the new interview we have a whole bunch to look forward to. Along with confirming yesterday’s announced casting of Eddie Falco as General Ardmore, the head of the RDA forces, we also got news on where the films are in the filming process and how extreme some of the training has been for the cast. Kate Winslet actually had to learn to hold her breath for seven minutes! The Avatar sequels are, without a doubt the biggest movie epic to ever be undertaken with Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 set to be released in 2020 and 2021 followed by Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 in 2023 and 2024.
First, here’s what he had to say about the underwater training and Winslet’s role in the film:
“We built a water tank that was 500,000 gallons of water, and we are doing performance-capture under the water, on the surface of the water, and above the water. We trained our cast to free-breath-hold, because in the sequences they have to just be swimming, they can’t be on scuba, and they have to be able to do long takes. So we had a gentleman named Kirk Krack come in and train everybody that needed to be underwater how to go underwater and how to hold their breath. Kate Winslet had to train in this and she got up to a static breath hold of just about seven minutes. It’s amazing, it’s mind over matter. You see Kate going underwater and she just felt so comfortable. There was one day, we have a tank where she was just rehearsing and testing and we have some windows into it, and I go in there and she’s just walking on the bottom [of the tank] left and right, left and right, left and right, then she sees me in the window and she just waves. I couldn’t believe it!”
Here’s what he had to say about Landau and What has been filmed so far:
“We have completed our principal capture on Avatar 2, 3, and part of 4. We’re going to do our live-action filming in New Zealand in the spring of this year. We just announced today that we’ve cast Edie Falco to play General Ardmore, who is the head of the RDA forces. In typical Jim [Cameron] fashion he finds this powerful woman to play what could be very easily a male role if people were just to read the script.”
Finally, here’s what Landau had to say about the status of the scripts, what comes next for production, and where all of the films will take place:
“That’s what we waited for. We needed to have all the scripts done before we embarked on production. We needed to understand where the characters were going. Not only did we need to understand it, our cast needed to understand it. Our cast playing these roles needed to understand decisions they were making in movies 2 and 3, how it would affect them in movie 4. Because if they didn’t, they might not bring the same thing to it. So we waited to complete all four scripts before we ever embarked on doing the project.”
“We also made the decision on the sequels to do everything really based on Pandora. There are times when other science-fiction movies, if they want water, they go to the ocean planet. If they want snow, they go to the ice planet. We realized that if we looked at Earth, we could spend our whole life traveling the globe and not see all of the wonders that Earth holds. Let’s do that on Pandora. Let Pandora really truly be that metaphor where we get to go see all these incredible different environments that Pandora holds. But just as importantly, as we go throughout the sequels we’re gonna meet new clans with very diverse cultures. Because our world, we’re a melting pot. In the first movie, we really only met one clan, the Omaticaya. But if a clan has lived forever on the oceans, they’re culturally gonna be very different than a clan that has lived in the rainforest, and we wanna present that in the movies as well.”