By: STEPHEN IERVOLINO, ABC News
(NEW ZEALAND) -- Like many movies, Oscar winning filmmaker James Cameron's forthcoming Avatar sequels hit a major snag when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered production. But now his longtime producing partner insists work will resume next week.
In an Instagram post showing off some of the movie's extensive physical sets, Jon Landau stated, "Our Avatar sets are ready...Couldn't be more excited to be headed back to New Zealand next week."
Indeed, the shooting location of the four sequels was key to getting back to work. The island nation -- which took early, methodical steps to limit COVID-19's spread -- currently has just 1,504 confirmed cases of the disease in its population of under five million people, with only 21 reported deaths.
Avatar 2 is slated for a Dec. 17, 2021 opening, while the third, fourth, and fifth films in the series are scheduled to roll out in 2023, 2025, and 2027, respectively.
The movies are being shot concurrently. The casts include returning stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Giovanni Ribisi; series newcomers include Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, and Dileep Rao.
The movies will be released by 20th Century Studios, which is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.
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