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Sigourney Weaver Is Already Filming Avatar 4 And 5

Sigourney Weaver has been back on Pandora for a while now.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Weaver revealed that she's already working on the fourth and fifth Avatar movies, set in the mid-22nd century predominantly on the lush planet of Pandora where humans mine the superconductor Unobtanium and interact with the native Na'vi people via Avatars. The actress dished up the information when discussing the potential plans for a Neill Blomkamp-directed Alien 5, noting that her ties to the project aren't solid since she's so preoccupied filming the Avatar sequels.  

"We almost started to do it when I was working with James Cameron. But by the time we were put off by Fox, Neill had gotten so many jobs that we'd have to wait probably. I'm busy doing Avatar 4 and 5," said Weaver, adding that the team "just finished shooting two and three."

It may come as a shock to some that Weaver, who portrayed exobiologist and head of the Avatar Program Dr. Grace Augustine in the first Avatar movie, is already shooting Avatar 4 and 5 when director Cameron and studio 20th Century Fox has yet to release the second and third films. However, it makes sense when considering the fact that the four sequels are being shot simultaneously. (Principal photography on Avatar 2 started in Manhattan Beach, California back in August 2017, with filming on Avatar 3 taking place concurrently in New Zealand in September 2017.)

Cameron previously stated that simultaneous production means hopping between sequels, sometimes focusing on different films each day: "One day I'll be working on scenes from [Avatar] two, the next day I'll be working on scenes from three. And the actors come in and go, 'Oh, we're working on three today.'" He also mentioned that his focus isn't just on Avatar 2, the film that will follow 11 years after the 2009 original, but that it's "on Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5 equally." Cameron told The Daily Beast in January 2017, "They've all been developed equally." 

Furthermore, during a video presentation at CineEurope in June 2018 (via Deadline), Cameron revealed that Zoe Saldana, who plays the Na'vi woman Neytiri, had completed filming on Avatar 2 and 3. 

Taking all of this into account, it really isn't all that surprising to hear that work has started on the latter sequels. 

What is interesting to hear, however, is Weaver's remarks about the impending Avatar films. Weaver noted that she'll take on an entirely new role — one "not really" connected to Dr. Augustine, who died in the first Avatar — and explained that the sequels play out like independent installments of an overarching story. She added that the four new Avatar flicks make up "a big saga," but that the narrative actually "works without 4 and 5," suggesting that fans can essentially abandon the franchise after Avatar 3 and not feel like they've been left on the edge of a cliff without any answers. It also implies that the fourth and fifth movies serve as sections of a two-part epilogue, while the first three movies make up a core trilogy. 

Still, Weaver promised that fans are in for something special with the new Avatar movies. 

"The scripts are amazing, and in the first one, which I love, I think [Cameron] hadn't set up a lot of things. In this one he got to tell this very personal story. They're amazing," said Weaver. "There's a message to not sacrifice everything for greed and conquest. It will take all four movies to really make that message loud and clear for the whole world."

Sadly, we're still several years away from receiving that message and seeing what the four new Avatar movies are all about. Avatar 2 is set for release on December 18, 2020, followed by Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021, Avatar 4 on December 20, 2024, and Avatar 5 on December 19, 2025.