The Disney / Fox merger has left a number of movie franchises in limbo, and James Cameron's 'Avatar' is no exception.
While 'Avatar 2' and 'Avatar 3' are already in production and slated for release in 2020 and 2021, 'Avatar 4' and 'Avatar 5' are definitely more murky. Per an interview with Barron's via CinemaBlend, Disney CEO Bob Iger has greenlit the second and third movies, but the fourth and fifth weren't as ironclad as once thought.
James Cameron's deal for the 'Avatar' sequels was made with 20th Century Fox, but now that it's merging with Disney, the likelihood is that parts of the deal will have to be renegotiated or altered. All told, the sequels are expected to cost over $1 billion in production - which is in and around the same price-tag for 'Avengers: Infinity War' and 'Avengers: Endgame' combined.
What's riding on all of this is how 'Avatar 2' and 'Avatar 3' perform commercially. The Disney / Fox merger is expected to close in March of this year, which would mean the House of Mouse will most likely be analysing how they perform and deciding whether the remaining movies get made on that basis.
'Avatar 2', or 'Avatar: The Way of Water' is set for release on December 18th, 2020 and 'Avatar 3', or 'Avatar: The Seed Bearer' is set for release on December 17th, 2021.