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Avatar, one of the highest grossing films of all time is set to get not one, but four sequels according to director and sci-fi legend James Cameron. Cameron made a surprise appearance at CinemaCon yesterday to announce the ambitious plan.

Ever since Avatar’s 2009 release, Cameron has been hard at work trying to flesh out the universe he’s created into something a little more substantial. For the last several years, his plan was to follow up the success of the first film with a trilogy; however, burdened by so many awesome stories — which must be really tough for him — Cameron has decided to expand the trilogy into saga territory.

While each film in the series has been designed to stand on its own, Cameron promised that there would be a cohesive story connecting each entry. As he explained on the podium, “I’ve been working with the top four screenwriters and designers in the world to design the world of ‘Avatar’ going forward. The environments, new cultures — whatever it takes to bring it to life. From what I’m seeing of the art on the wall … in pure imagination is just beyond the first film. I’m speechless.”

While the first movie has — in the years since — been compared unfavorably to Dances With Wolves, it’s visual beauty is undeniable and its adventure story is captivating (though a tad rote, let’s be honest). What was most important is that the original Avatar was a great theater experience, which makes these films genuinely exciting.

We’ll get our first taste of the Avatar extended universe in Christmas of 2018 and every year thereafter.

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