The first sequel to the record-breaking ‘Avatar’ is due to hit theaters in December 2016 (with the other two subsequently arriving in December 2017 and 2018), but FOX CEO Rupert Murdoch seems skeptical.  ”If we make it, it will be the first time Jim Cameron’s been on time or on budget,” the executive states, but adds “But he’s never lost me. When he finally comes through, they’re just huge hits.”

But from the way Cameron himself discusses the films’ progress, he might just make this a first.  From the sound of things, preproduction is in full swing and all three scripts are nearing completion in order for the sequels to shoot simultaneously in New Zealand, where the first movie was also filmed.

In a Reddit AMA, the director offered some updates for fans:

“The second, third and fourth films all go into production simultaneously.  They’re essentially all in preproduction now, because we are designing creatures, settings, and characters that span all three films. And we should be finished with all three scripts within the next, I would say, six weeks.  The biggest pressure I feel right now is cutting out things I love to get the film down to a length that is affordable.  There hasn’t been a problem finding new and wonderful things to include in the movie.”

Cameron himself co-wrote the scripts, working with Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Shane Salerno.

Cameron directing Sam Worthington on the set of the first ‘Avatar’

Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri) and Stephen Lang (the villainous Marine Colonel Quaritch), are set to reprise their roles from the first movie.

Cameron discussed a few other ‘Avatar’ subjects in the Reddit AMA including addressing the rumor that popped up last year that Arnold Schwarzenegger would appear in the sequels.  The writer/producer/director, unfortunately shot the rumor down.  “As of right now, [Arnold] and I have not discussed it, and I don’t see a role as the scripts are coming together that would be appropriate for him, so I would say probably not.”

He also stated that ‘True Lies 2’ was scrapped after 9/11 and has never been revisited, his plans to adapt the manga ‘Battle Angel’ were on hold and that he hoped to see big summer tent pole movies become more story-driven and less about explosions.

Are you excited to return to Pandora?  Thrice?

Source: THR