Q&A: James Cameron on the return of 'Avatar'

This 2009 image released by 20th Century Films shows filmmaker James Cameron on the set of "Avatar." Cameron's long-awaited "Avatar" sequel, "The Way of the Water" will be released later this year. On Friday, “Avatar” will be re-released in theaters. (Zack Fellman/20th Century Films via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Thirteen years after James Cameron plunged moviegoers into the cosmic world of "Avatar," the lush, distant moon of Pandora is finally orbiting back into view.

Cameron's "Avatar" industrial complex has been whirling in high gear for some time; production on the upcoming sequel, "Avatar: The Way of Water," began back in 2017. But after shuffling through half a decade's worth of release dates, Cameron's science-fiction epic is poised to again blanket movie screens and transport willing travelers back, in 3-D, to the land of the Na'vi.

For even the visionary filmmaker of "Titanic" and "The Terminator," the relaunch of "Avatar" is, as Cameron said in a recent interview from Wellington, New Zealand, "a big bet." A third "Avatar" is already in post-production, and production has begun on a fourth.