James Cameron says Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are on board for first of two films

James Cameron has been clear about his plans to turn his megahit Avatar into a trilogy. Now the director tells EW that the two sequels are ”in the works as we speak,” and he even has projected release dates in mind. ”It’s pretty mapped out,” he says. ”I am in the process of writing the next two films now. We are planning to shoot them together, post them together, and will probably release them, not quite back-to-back but about a year apart. Christmas 2014 and 2015 is the current plan.”

Good news, Sam Worthington fans: It looks like Jake will return, as will Zoë Saldana’s Neytiri. ”Basically, if you survived the first film, you get to be in the second film, at least in some form,” Cameron says. ”I don’t mean behind the scenes. I think everyone survived behind the scenes — I didn’t kill anyone yet.” He won’t say whether the new films will take place on Pandora, but he remains dedicated to the original’s conservation themes. ”Fox has also partnered with me to donate a chunk of the profits to environmental causes that are at the heart of the Avatar world,” he says. ”I didn’t want to make more Avatar movies without a grander plan in place.”

Even a year after Avatar, the director is still winning accolades. He just received the Milestone Award from his peers at the Producers Guild of America — a rueful honor, he says. ”It sort of implies that you have accomplished your best work and that you are ready to be put out to pasture.” We seriously doubt that.

  • Movie
  • 162 minutes