20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection
Nick Romano
March 10, 2017 AT 10:27 AM EST

According to James Cameron, we’ll have to wait even longer to see those Avatar sequels we’ve been hearing about. While Avatar 2 was initially scheduled for Christmas Day of 2018, the filmmaker said that’s no longer the case.

“Well, 2018 is not happening. We haven’t announced a firm release date,” Cameron told The Toronto Star in an interview for his documentary Atlantis Rising. “What people have to understand is that this is a cadence of releases. So we’re not making Avatar 2, we’re making Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5. It’s an epic undertaking. It’s not unlike building the Three Gorges dam.”

Sigourney Weaver hinted at the large undertaking back in 2012, claiming the sequels will be shot “back-to-back-to-back.” Zoe Saldana, for one, already has responsibilities to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War.

“So I know where I’m going to be for the next eight years of my life,” Cameron continued. “It’s not an unreasonable time frame if you think about it. It took us four-and-a-half years to make one movie and now we’re making four. We’re full tilt boogie right now. This is my day job and pretty soon we’ll be 24-7. We’re pretty well designed on all our creatures and sets. It’s pretty exciting stuff. I wish I could share with the world. But we have to preserve a certain amount of showmanship and we’re going to draw that curtain when the time is right.”

Avatar 3 was previously announced for a 2020 release, followed by Avatar 4 in 2022 and Avatar 5 in 2023. However, the production shift for the second installment could have ripple effects on the others.

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