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Director sets aside the next six years to more - and more - of his self-described "bitchin" sequels.
Stephanie Marie Anderson

15 Apr 2016 - 4:20 PM  UPDATED 15 Apr 2016 - 4:20 PM

Avatar is no-one's favourite film. Despite being technically and visually stunning, the film has for the most part, been erased from our collective cultural memory.

And yet, Avatar has remained the biggest box office hit of all time. Not even Star Wars: The Force Awakens was unable to knock the film off the top spot, and today, box office numbers like that make a sequel somewhat of an inevitability. But we are not getting one sequel.

Today, director James Cameron announced that the visual spectacular would receive not one, not two, not three, but FOUR sequels.

A surprise guest at Las Vegas' CinemaCon event for the exhibition industry, Cameron announced that while he was originally planning three sequels to the film that everyone saw and said "yeah, it was pretty" about as they exited the cinema, he 'had to' expand the franchise with a fourth sequel as they "began to bump up against the limitations for our art form."

Describing the franchise to which he will devote three decades of his career as a "true epic saga", Cameron said that a fifth installment was necessary to tell the whole story.

"We have decided to embark on a truly massive cinematic process," he told the crowd.

In 2014, Cameron was planning for Avatar 2 to be released at the end of this year, but has since pushed the sequels back. At the time, he described the sequels as "bitchin'" and said that moviegoers would "shit themselves" watching them. Yes, really.

Avatar 2 is now slated for release at the end of 2018, 9 years after the original 2009 film, and Cameron hopes to release the third, fourth and fifth installments in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Of the sequels, Cameron says that he's "been working... with a team of four top screenwriters," for a few years, in order to "to design the world of 'Avatar' going forward: The characters, the creatures, the environment, the new cultures."

"So far, the art I'm seeing, is in pure imagination, really far beyond the first film," he added. "It's going to be a true epic saga."

He finished his announcement with a confident closing statement: "Together, we're going to continue to make this industry the greatest show on earth. That's what we do."

Here are some of the excited responses to the news:

Just for fun, here's Kathryn Bigelow accepting the Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker while ex-husband and fellow nominee Cameron and the woman he left Bigelow for looked on from the crowd.