Production has officially resumed on Avatar 2 in New Zealand after the country recently ended its coronavirus lockdown.
The film’s crew, including director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau, were given special permission to fly to New Zealand from Los Angeles at the end of May, entering quarantine while they waited the local government’s approval to restart filming the movie. Having approached the exemption application responsibly, the film was cleared for restarting production in New Zealand.
The New Zealand government has attracted some criticism for allowing the Avatar 2 production team to prematurely bypass border security rules in return, but producer Landau said New Zealand had much to gain.
“This one production alone is going to hire 400 New Zealanders to work on it,” Landau told 1News.
“We’re going to spend, in the next five months alone, over $70 million here,” he said.
He added: “The opportunities are immense. We are just the wedge in the door that hopefully unlocks a lot for the economy.”
Landau shared a picture of their first shot back in production on the Avatar sequels on Instagram earlier this week.
The sequel to the 2010 Oscar-winning epic is being shot along a third, fourth and fifth instalment in the sci-fi fantasy series.
Avatar 2 takes forward the story of the planet Pandora that was revealed to the world in the original film, in which a colony of humanity’s military-industrial complex arrived on the planet to mine its earth for the precious element ‘Unobtanium’. Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington, was placed in a body from the local population, known as the Na’vi, to win their trust and allow the humans to infiltrate and capture the populace. Instead, Sully fell in love with one particular Na’vi, played by Zoe Saldana, and switched his allegiance over to the side of the aliens. The movie ended with Sully living on Pandora with his newly adopted people, while the humans are sent back to Earth.
The sequel is set for release in December 2021.