According to a star of one film, and a producer of the other, the two most highly anticipated sequels since….well, ever probably, will begin filming almost simultaneously.
Both sequels are scheduled to begin production early in 2014, the Avatar 2 news was reported by Zoe Saldana, who plays Neytiri in the James Cameron franchise. She has also confirmed something long assumed regarding the Avatar sequels: As expected, Parts 2 and 3 will be filmed back to back. She mentioned this on The Johnathan Ross Show in the UK (according to Digital Spy), and had this to say about why the sequels will be produced consecutively:
I think that they’re doing a part two and a part three and they’re probably going to shoot it at the same time. Because if we just do two and then wait, I’ll probably be 45 or 50 by the time we get to part three. It takes a long time, it’s a very hard process.
Bryan Burk, long-time producer for J.J. Abrams and co-founder of Bad Robot (as well as producer on Star Wars: Episode VII, naturally) revealed the rough, tentative shooting schedule for SW7 in an interview with Collider:
We’re progressing on a schedule to hopefully begin next year, or the beginning of next year, and the location is still kind of floating around in the air all depending on script and a whole bunch of other issues. As I just said, everything is kind of a free-flowing thing, and when we feel like the story level on this script and everything is really coming together and schedules are all working and pieces line up, we prowl ahead, and Star Wars will be no different.
If these assertions prove accurate, then we can indeed expect a May 2015 release for Episode VII. Avatar 2, being more CGI-heavy, will probably take longer – estimates put its release at Christmas of 2015.