When we learned of the Avatar 2‘s updated September 25th production start, Manhattan Beach, California and New Zealand were listed as main locations. It was assumed that it would be heading back but nothing terrible concrete recently.
We’re now hearing that a good portion of the film (and sequels) are still on track to be shot in Wellington, New Zealand from production sources as prep is ramping up.
Avatar 2 is expected to return to Stone Street Studios. The facility was used for Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, King Kong, Ghost In The Shell, and the upcoming adaption of Mortal Engines (produced by Peter Jackson).
There is some previous information that is supporting this.
Recent word that both Weta Workshop and Weta Digital are already hard at work on the film.
In 2015, Variety reported that the Avatar sequels were returning to New Zealand with confirmation from producer Jon Landu.
“Jim is not going back because of the financial incentives,” Landau says. “It’s part of it, but he is going because of the labor pool and the creative talent that is down there. And I think that says something.”
“That combination of the cost effectiveness and the creative talent there is what keeps bringing us back.”
In 2013, Lightstorm Entertainment (Cameron/Landu) made a public announcement in Wellington, New Zealand with Prime Minister John Key that the sequels (three at the time) would be filming in the country back to back.
Here’s what New Zealand Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said about the impact the sequels will have on the county.
“The Avatar sequels will provide hundreds of jobs and thousands of hours of work directly in the screen sector as well as jobs right across the economy.”
James Cameron happens to have an estate just outside of Wellington.
The original shot in the state of Hawaii, but there’s no word if it’ll return.
New additions to the cast include Cliff Curtis andOona Chaplin. Returning are Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Matt Gerard, CCH Pounder, and Joel David Moore.
Avatar 2 will be released on December 18th, 2020.