'Avatar 2' release date set in December 2017 - what to expect

Avatar20th Century Fox

Fans of director James Cameron's 2009 sci-fi epic film "Avatar" have waited a long time for a sequel and it appears that they'll have to wait some more as Jim Gianopulos, the CEO of 20th Century Fox, has said that he expects "Avatar 2" to be shown around Christmas 2017. 

Gianopulos made the announcement back in June at Gabelli & Company's Movie & Entertainment Conference held in New York, as reported by Variety. He also confirmed that after the release of the second film, the other sequels — "Avatar 3" and "Avatar 4" — will have subsequent yearly releases, ensuring all the films to roll out by 2019. However, the schedule is still open to changes. 

"Avatar 2" was initially set to be released in 2016 but Cameron announced that it was being pushed back a full year as they waited for better technology to be developed in order to shoot underwater scenes with motion capture. In addition, they were also trying to cut the story down to just three sequels instead of four. 

Back in January, the director discussed the difficulties they faced in developing and shooting three films back-to-back in a report by Comic Book Movie

"We're writing three simultaneously. And we've done that so that everything tracks throughout the three films," Cameron explained. "We're not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that. And parallel with that, we're doing all the design. So we've designed all the creatures and the environments."

Cameron also explained that there is a level of complexity when doing three consecutive films this way instead of the traditional route where the studios shoot one stand-alone film and then later come back to do a sequel.