Avatar 2 was initially penciled in for a Christmas 2016 release before shifting to Christmas 2017, setting up a potential box office battle between the sequel and Star Wars: Episode VIII.
In January 2016, 20th Century Fox announced that Avatar 2's release date would likely be pushed to Christmas 2018; however, in a new interview with the Toronto Star, Cameron admitted the sequel, the first of four planned Avatar films, won't be released next year.
"Well, 2018 is not happening," the director said. "We haven't announced a firm release date."
Cameron went on to explain that the magnitude of the project – he's planning on making all four Avatar sequels simultaneously – has postponed the Avatar 2 production.
"What people have to understand is that this is a cadence of releases," he said. "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. So I know where I'm going to be for the next eight years of my life. It's not an unreasonable time frame if you think about it."
Cameron, who will bring Avatar to Disney World this May with Pandora: The World of Avatar, added that the production has "pretty well designed on all our creatures and sets."
"We're full tilt boogie right now. This is my day job and pretty soon we’ll be 24-7," Cameron said. "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."
When Cameron announced that the Avatar franchise would expand with four sequels, as opposed to the originally planned three, the director charted 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2024 as the years of release; it's unclear if the remainder of that schedule has been altered as well.
"So far, the art I'm seeing is, in pure imagination, really far beyond the first film," Cameron said of the sequels at the time. "It's going to be a true epic saga."