James Cameron Planning ‘Avatar’ Trilogy, Director Tells MTV News

We’re still fresh off the opening weekend success of James Cameron’s long-awaited “Avatar.” Doesn’t matter though. It is now time to start thinking about what’s next for the world of Pandora, and for the Na’vi people.

Cameron isn’t exactly ready to start the cameras rolling on a follow-up. He’ll probably wait until awards season is over at the very least. Whenever he does get started on the continuing story of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his Na’vi mate Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), we at least know that he’s got a broad strokes plan in mind for where life will take them next.

“We’ll follow Jake and Neytiri,” Cameron told MTV’s Josh Horowitz in an interview at the pre-release “Avatar” junket in London. “I have a trilogy-scaled arc of story right now, but I haven’t really put any serious work into writing a script,” he said.

Some of the satisfied fans undoubtedly left theaters this past weekend wondering exactly when we might see more of the “Avatar” universe. After all, Cameron’s initial idea for the story grew out of an 80-page treatment he penned back in 1995. Will it be another 13 years before we get a return trip to Pandora?

“From the time we capture and finish the capture, it’s literally nine to 10 months to get the CG characters working, to get their facial musculature working,” he said. “So now we have Jake, we have Neytiri. Sam can step right back into it, the characters will fit them like a glove, and we’ll just go on. So a lot of the start-up torque that had to be done for one movie really makes more sense if you play it out across several films.”

Presuming the director pulls together a new script in a reasonable amount of time, we could see more “Avatar” as soon as 2012, 2013. Perhaps even sooner, if Cameron gets his way.

“My next goal is to refine the technique, make it easier so it doesn’t take as long. We were doing a lot of pioneering work on ’Avatar.’ It wouldn’t have taken as long if we already knew exactly how to do it.”

Now that you’ve seen “Avatar,” how excited are you to see a sequel? Do you think it’s a possibility that the two follow-ups Cameron has planned will be shot back-to-back, a la “The Lord of the Rings”?