James Cameron Making ‘Avatar 2′ And ‘Avatar 3′ As His Next Films

James Cameron won’t be turning Angelina Jolie into a 3-D “Cleopatra” anytime soon. The director has announced that he’s cinched a deal with Twentieth Century Fox to head back to Pandora to shoot two “Avatar” sequels as his next films, with release dates for the tentatively titled “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3” slated for December 2014 and December 2015, respectively. Seeing as last year’s 3-D-redefining “Avatar” raked in $760.4 million domestically and $2.8 billion worldwide, can’t say we blame the guy for going back to the well another two times.

Cameron said in a statement: “It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow, with the resources and partnership of a global media company. AVATAR was conceived as an epic work of fantasy — a world that audiences could visit, across all media platforms, and this moment marks the launch of the next phase of that world. With two new films on the drawing boards, my company and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at Twentieth Century Fox. Our goal is to meet and exceed the global audience’s expectations for the richness of AVATAR’s visual world and the power of the storytelling. In the second and third films, which will be self contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of AVATAR’s visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world. I’m looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”

According to Variety, Cameron will start working on the scripts for the films early next year with an eye to begin production on the first film late in 2011. He’ll decide whether to film the sequels back-to-back, “Lord of the Rings”-style, when the scripts are completed.

As for what we might see in the sequels, “Avatar” star Sigourney Weaver (who may or may not be back for “2” and/or “3”) recently shared her vision with MTV News. “I think that the challenges to Pandora will continue,” she said. “I do think that humans will be back. I also think that maybe we’ll get more of a chance to live a Na’vi life. I think we want to be in that world and I, for one, would love to be a Thanator in that world! I just think we have a big appetite for going back there, and I know that Jim will do everything he can to satisfy us and take it to even more parts of Pandora that we don’t even know exist yet.”

Sadly, there is one downside to the “Avatar” sequel news: It means it’ll be a while (if ever) before we get to see Angelina Jolie play a 3-D “Cleopatra”… unless, of course, Cameron can sign Jolie up for the “Avatar” sequels as a Na’vi warrior princess named — you guessed it — Cleopatra. we could deal with that.

Are you pumped Cameron is making “Avatar 2″ and “3” as his next films? Tell us in the comments!