James Cameron won’t be shooting Avatar 4 at the same time as parts two and three, but he’s got an idea for a fourth Avatar film. In an interview with MTV the director reveals that it will be a prequel to his first Avatar movie, saying “It goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora and kind of what went wrong with the humans.” He goes on to explain,
I have an idea for a fourth. I haven’t really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na’vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world.
Because when we drop in, even in the first film in ‘Avatar 1,’ as it will be known in the future, we’re dropping into a process that’s 35 years in to a whole colonization. That will complete an arc and if that leads into more, we’ll start, not imitating ‘Star Wars,’ but it’s a logical thing to do because we’ll have completed the thematic arc by the end of three. The only thing left to do is go back to see what it was like on those first expeditions and create some new characters that then become legacy characters in later films. It’s a plan.
So it sounds like he’s thinking of taking the Avatar universe beyond a fourth film and expanding the universe even furthur, which is what Lucas should be doing with his Star Wars universe. There’s an endless supply of movies that could be made, but it will never happen. Cameron goes on to talk about the sequel’s he’s been developing,
We’ve spent two years refining the whole pipeline. It was a hideously complex process to make that film and a lot has been said about that, but we don’t want it to be done in the same prototypical way as the first one, we want it to be a much smoother workflow just for creativity reasons.
He then adds that he’s still working on on the script for the next two chapters of the story saying that it’s a daunting process “because I’m writing two scripts together as one big thing.” He then takes a fun crack at Peter Jackson and his Hobbit movies saying,
You know, Peter Jackson had it easy, he already had the books. He had the books. Now if I had a time machine I could go forward and watch the movies and then come back, but I don’t!