Breaking: James Cameron Sets <i>Avatar</i> Sequels As His Next Films

Forget those Cleopatra rumors, as director James Cameron has locked a deal with 20th Century Fox to direct two back-to-back sequels to 2009's Avatar.

Variety reports that Cameron and Fox are looking at December 2014 and December 2015 as release dates for the tentatively titled Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, which will film back-to-back as many had previously speculated. The shooting schedule mirrors recent efforts from other successful franchise pictures including the two-part Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the upcoming The Hobbit films from Peter Jackson.

"I'm looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild," Cameron said in a statement. "In the second and third films, which will be self-contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of Avatar's visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world."

"It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow, with the resources and partnership of a global media company," he added. "With two new films on the drawing boards, my company and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at 20th Century Fox."

So, there you have it: two Avatar sequels are officially in development, complete with a locked-in director and tentative release dates. Are you excited for Cameron's return trip to Pandora, or were you hopeful that the director would get behind another project as his next feature film?

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