James Cameron will make three follow-up films to his 2009 3D epic Avatar rather than the two movies he had originally planned.
Fox Studios have confirmed that the director is in the process of making three sequels which will be filmed simultaneously next year with a view to releasing them one by one at Christmas in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Avatar, set on the alien planet of Pandora, remains the highest-grossing movie of all time, having taken $2.8 billion worldwide.
"In writing the new films, I've come to realize that Avatar's world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated," Cameron said in a statement.
"It became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen," he said.
In 2010 Cameron said he would be turning Avatar into a franchise with two future films in the pipeline.