James Cameron has revealed the first 'Avatar' sequel takes place years after the original movie.

The 64-year-old director has detailed a scene in the upcoming sci-fi film which is set at least eight years after the first sci-fi blockbuster, which takes place on alien moon Pandora in 2154, and sees characters Jake Sully and Neytiri have a ''three-page argument'' which is viewed from the perspective of their eight-year-old daughter, a sequence which is ''critical'' to the next film's plot.

Speaking on Empire's 'Avatar Podumentary', Cameron said: ''There's a three-page argument scene between Jake and Neytiri, a marital dispute, very, very critical to the storyline. I wound up shooting it all from the point of view of the eight-year-old hiding under the structure and peeking in.''

The first movie focuses on the human led Resources Development Administration (RDA) attempting to mine Pandora for unobtanium, a hugely valuable mineral.

The moon is inhabited by indigenous aliens the Na'vi, beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved, and as the planet's environment is poisonous to human beings, human/Na'vi hybrids called Avatars must link to human minds to allow for free movement on the planet.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paralysed former marine becomes mobile again through one such Avatar and falls in love with a Na'vi woman (Zoe Saldana), however, he is drawn into a battle for the survival of her world when the RDA threaten to destroy it.

The 'Titanic' director went on to explain that Sam's character will be facing an ''emotional rollercoaster'' across the forthcoming films, the first of which will be released in 2020, followed by the other three in 20121, 2024 and 2025.

He said: ''Having gone through the experience with [Sam] on Avatar, I now knew how to write the Jake character going forward across the emotional rollercoaster of the next four movies. It's been tough on him. He's done two pictures back to back now, because we did 2 and 3 together. He had to go to some dark places.''

Cameron added that although certain performance-capture elements are complete, live-action scenes are now about to start production and will take little longer.

He said: ''That pesky little live-action component is going to cost me five months of my life, across the two movies.''