James Cameron hasn’t made any Avatar sequels yet, but he keeps adding more.

After the first Avatar became the biggest blockbuster of all time in 2009, Cameron said he wanted to make two sequels. Eventually two morphed into three, with Avatar 2 scheduled to hit theaters in December of 2017. But then the first sequel was delayed with no new date offered. Would the whole franchise, which once seemed guaranteed, just quietly disappear?

Uh, yeah, no. Cameron made a surprise appearance at CinemaCon in Las Vegas today to reveal that not only is Avatar returning to theaters, it’s coming back with more sequels than previously announced. Now there will be four Avatars over the next seven years. I guess the only way to follow up one of the most ambitious spectacles in Hollywood history is to do four even more ambitious spectacles.

From the assembled press corps in Las Vegas:

Even for one of the most popular movies ever made, this plan seems kind of nuts. The original movie has been largely forgotten in the six years since its release (even if it’s better than its reputation). Four movies without any guarantee that the first one will be a giant hit? And four different movies that all stand alone? (This may be Cameron trying to get on the cinematic universe bandwagon, telling different and loosely interconnected stories inside one giant world.) If he pulls it off, Cameron’s legacy will be cemented forever. If it falls apart, people will scratch their heads and wonder how someone okay this crazy scheme in the first place.

Avatar 2, which Cameron previously promised would make you “s--- yourself” will (probably? maybe?) open in theaters on Christmas in 2018.

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