Avatar actor says further delays may force cast to leave franchise early

David Thewlis is set to play a leading role in the long-awaited 'Avatar' sequels

Annabel Nugent
Monday 03 August 2020 14:38 BST
Avatar 2: James Cameron’s ‘special permission’ to return to New Zealand for filming branded ‘totally unfair’

The Avatar cast may be forced to leave the franchise early if there are any further delays to production, actor David Thewlis has revealed.

Thewlis, who is due to take a leading role in the Avatar sequels, has warned that if the films are postponed again, main cast members may not be able to complete the shoots due to conflicting commitments with other movies.

“If the films are delayed any longer some of the principal cast won’t be able to finish them as they are already committed to other projects,” Thewlis told The Independent.

The highly-anticipated sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster was first announced a decade ago in October 2010 with a projected release date of December 2014.

Since then, its opening date has been moved back at least seven times, often because of "production concerns" and either by one or two years in each instance. Three additional sequels have also been added to the franchise, with all of their release dates also being pushed back.

Most recently, Cameron announced in July that the second film – which eventually began production in 2017 – is expected to be ready for release in December 2022. The director also added that the remaining sequels will follow at two-year intervals after that.

This latest postponement is said to be due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Filming on the sequels recently resumed in June after Cameron and the cast - including Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet - were granted special permission to return to New Zealand following the closure of the country's borders due to the pandemic.

There is little known about the forthcoming Avatar films either by the public or the cast themselves. Thewlis said: “I don’t know the story because you’re not allowed to read the whole script.”

He added: “This project doesn’t work like anything I’ve ever done before.”

The 2009 blockbuster was, and still is, the most expensive original movie ever made, with a budget of approximately $240m (£184.3m). It quickly became a smash-hit and ushered in a new generation of special effects for film.

The full interview with Thewlis will be available to read on The Independent tomorrow, Tuesday 4 August. The Naked actor also reveals what to expect from his new drama series Barkskins, a television adaptation based on the novel of the same name by Annie Proulx.

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