The follow-up to the 2009 blockbuster will now be released in late 2017, rather than late 2016, as previously expected.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker admitted that the writing process had proved to be “very involved” and that the initial target date was probably too ambitious.
“There’s a layer of complexity in getting the story to work as a saga across three films that you don’t get when you’re making a stand-alone film,” he said in Wellington, New Zealand, where he was helping promote the local film industry with other directors including Peter Jackson.
James, who is leading a team that’s writing the screenplays, said the goal was to have the scripts for the three movies completed by the end of this month, which he plans to release over consecutive years.
“We’re writing three simultaneously. And we’ve done that so that everything tracks throughout the three films,” he said.
“We’re not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that. And parallel with that, we’re doing all the design. So we’ve designed all the creatures and the environments.”
The original film, which became the highest-grossing film in history and won three Oscars, was shot in New Zealand, and the sequels will also be filmed there.
Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are set to reprise their roles in the upcoming sequels.