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You Won't Believe How Much Of Avatar 4 Has Already Been Filmed

The world may have had to wait nearly a decade and a half for the upcoming sequel to James Cameron's science-fiction epic "Avatar" (Cameron even threw out his first script for the project), but the auteur behind the "Terminator" franchise isn't resting on his laurels when it comes to subsequent installments. "Avatar: The Way of Water" is in post-production and awaiting its release in December of this year, but producer Jon Landau recently surprised fans with some inside information on how far along "Avatar 4" – that's right, "Avatar 4" – is in the production timeline.

In today's Hollywood ecosystem, which can promise plenty of sequels before scrapping the plans at the first sign of sagging box office, Cameron and Landau are forging an unusual path with the "Avatar" franchise, and some of the upcoming (and untitled) "Avatar 4" has already been filmed before we even know the name of the intervening third "Avatar film." It was already known that multiple "Avatar" sequels were being filmed concurrently (confirmed when production on all four movies was halted simultaneously due to COVID-19), but it's still somewhat shocking to learn that a movie that isn't even scheduled to come out until 2026 could be so far along already.

Most of Avatar 4's first act has been filmed

The scoop comes in Variety courtesy of "Avatar" series producer Jon Landau. At a press conference during the Busan International Film Festival, he revealed just how much of "Avatar" 4 has already been filmed in advance of its scheduled release more than four years from now.

"We've completed most of the first act of 'Avatar 4' and there were logistical reasons why we needed to do that," revealed the producer, referencing the plot structure of the sequels that will be kept close to the chest until they're eventually released. He went on, "We've designed most of the whole movie for 'Avatar 4' but we haven't actually filmed all of it – just the first act."

Details on why exactly it makes sense to have filmed so much of "Avatar 4" ahead of time were mum over the course of Landau's comments, and when James Cameron made a live video appearance at the same "Avatar" event at the festival he revealed even less. However, it's mostly because the longest part of the filmmaking process for "Avatar" movies is post-production, since the movie uses motion-capture performances as the foundation for a movie that is primarily created with visual effects. For now, it's just reassuring for "Avatar" fans to know that the sequels are evidently moving along swimmingly, and in a few years' time there will be several new additions to the "Avatar" mythos.