It’s been a while since James Cameron updated us on the status of his planned sequels to Avatar, the highest-grossing (and perhaps most divisive) film of all time. The director is still hard at work prepping the next three films in what he calls a “meta-narrative” series, and says he hopes to release Avatar 2 in 2017, just in time for the holidays.

Cameron appeared at the premiere of the Pandora-inspired Cirque Du Soleil show Toruk: The First Flight, where he gave the Montreal Gazette a hint of what we’ll see in the new sequels and how he plans on releasing them:

Christmas of ’17 is the target…At least, that’s what we’ve announced. But I don’t consider that to be as important as the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart. I call it a meta-narrative that runs across the three movies. Each film stands alone, but it also tells one much larger story.

Are you ready for three more Avatar sequels? Cameron’s first film in the (eventual) franchise was inarguably pretty to look at, but also kind of empty — sort of like The Revenant. But Cameron has three more chances to get the story and the characters right, particularly Jake, played by Sam Worthington, who felt like such default, bland casting.

As for how far along Cameron is in the process, the director says:

We have design more or less finished, which is an enormous task. It’s been about a two-year task. [We’ve finished] all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds within the world of Pandora that you see. The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So we’re really poised to start after the first of the year

If Cameron starts shooting at the beginning of 2016, it’s entirely plausible that we’ll see Avatar 2 by December 2017 — possibly earlier.