New Zealand’s government cleared the country to resume production on television series and movies that were forced to suspend operations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including James Cameron’s Avatar sequels and Amazon Studios’ Lord of the Rings series.
According to Deadline, the New Zealand Film Commission said there are currently some film and television shoots “already safely underway.” NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan also stated, “The NZFC’s focus and commitment since the industry hiatus, has been the health and safety of all those who work in the New Zealand film industry and the ongoing sustainability of the wider screen sector.”
As far as the Avatar sequels are concerned, the production team has been working on visual effects since filming was stopped. Lord of the Rings, meanwhile, was almost done filming the first two episodes, after which the production was going to take a four-to-five-month hiatus. However, it appears the coronavirus interruption will extend into this already planned break.
The NZFC will be requiring certain protocols such as working with the Ministry of Health on contact tracing.
Written and directed by James Cameron, Avatar 2 stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, Edie Falco, Kate Winslet, Oona Chaplin, Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis. The film arrives in theaters Dec. 17, 2021, followed by Avatar 3 in Dec. 2023, Avatar 4 in Dec. 2025, and Avatar 5 in Dec. 2027.
Produced by Amazon Studios, The Lord of the Rings stars Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Maxim Baldry and Daniel Weyman.
Amazon Studios' Lord of the Rings series and James Cameron's Avatar sequels have been given the OK to resume production in New Zealand.