All three movies about the blue inhabitants of Pandora will be shot in New Zealand, where the first film was created.
"It's quite a thrill to be officially saying that we're bringing the Avatar films to New Zealand," he told a news conference. "We had such a wonderful experience here making the first film."
Cameron's vision for the "Avatar" films is to create a family epic like "The Godfather."
The 59-year-old director said he plans to complete principal shooting on the three movies at one time, perhaps over a period of about nine months and beginning in 2015. He said the aim is to release the first sequel in time for Christmas 2016 and the following sequels in late 2017 and late 2018.
"Avatar" was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including best picture and best director, and won three for best art direction, best cinematography and best visual effects. The international box office took in nearly $2.8 billion.
A team has been developing new software for the sequels, Cameron told The Associated Press in an interview.
"It's going to be a lot of new imagery and a lot of new environments and creatures across Pandora," he said. "We're blowing it out all over the place. At first I thought I was going to take it onto other worlds as well, in the same solar system, but it turned out not to be necessary. I mean the Pandora that we have imagined will be a fantasy land that is going to occupy people for decades to come, the way I see it."
The director also said he intends to shoot at least some sequences at 48 frames per second. Films are typically shot in 24 frames per second. New Zealand director Peter Jackson shot his trilogy of "The Hobbit" at double that speed in an attempt to make the movies look more realistic and impressive.
The films will be made by Lightstorm Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox.