Nearly a decade-and-a-half ago, James Cameron released his dream project, and it became one of the biggest success stories in film history. AVATAR pushed the boundaries of digital filmmaking and ushered in a new era of 3D storytelling.
In 2009, AVATAR took audiences to the moon Pandora, where Earth engineers mine raw materials that have been depleted back home. Humans survive the planet’s poisonous atmosphere by transferring their consciousness into hybrid “avatars,” which fuse human genetics with the 10-foot tall native alien Na’vi. When a paraplegic marine becomes a new avatar operator, he is pulled deep into Pandora society.
Now, the first sequel — with three more coming down the line — is on the way and will open in AMC Theatres this holiday season after what seems like years of delays and rescheduled release dates. Here’s everything we know about AVATAR: THE WAY OF THE WATER.
When Does Avatar: The Way Of Water Come Out?
It’s been a long road for AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER! Several release dates have been set, but AVATAR 2 is currently set to come out on December 16, 2022. Performance-capture filming started in 2017 and ran for almost a year, but with an effects-heavy movie like this, James Cameron and crew had a great deal of post-production work to complete, a process that was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020.
Wait, How Many Sequels?
Part of the reason for the incredibly long production time is that this wasn’t just the shoot for one new James Cameron movie — he shot at least two movies at once. AVATAR 2 and 3 were both being captured during that time period. AVATAR 3 is currently set to come to theatres on December 20, 2024. But, that isn’t the only AVATAR movie coming out.
As far as we know right now, four AVATAR sequels are planned. In addition to the second and third films mentioned above, AVATAR 4 is expected to open on December 18, 2026, and AVATAR 5 is tentatively set to arrive on December 22, 2028.
That’s if things go as planned, anyway. For one, the whole series is partially financed and entirely distributed by 20th Century Fox, which has since been renamed 20th Century Studios thanks to the merger with Disney. The company has built an Avatar Land theme park area in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, so there’s already a commitment to Cameron’s vision. Still, the fourth and fifth films have not been greenlit. If the first two sequels fail to perform, AVATAR 4 and 5 may never be shot.
What About The Title For Avatar 2?
The official title for AVATAR 2 — AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER — was officially revealed at CinemaCon 2022 when 20th Century Studios debuted the first teaser trailer. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that it had been the rumored title for a few years now, with director James Cameron even addressing it at one point. During a 2019 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Cameron said he could “neither confirm nor deny” the subtitle, as well as those rumored for subsequent films in the franchise, including THE SEED BEARER, THE TULKUN RIDER and THE QUEST FOR EYWA. Expect to hear more about the official titles for the other AVATAR sequels in the future.
The Big Story Arc Of Avatar: The Way Of Water
We can’t tell you much about the story of AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, because James Cameron has revealed very little besides the fact it will be set around 14 years following the events of the first film and will focus on Jake Sully and Neytiri, who will go to extreme lengths to keep their family safe.
We know Cameron spent years overseeing the writing of all four planned sequels. Originally, prior to discussion of a fifth movie, Josh Friedman was announced as writer for AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver for AVATAR 3, and Shane Salerno for AVATAR 4. Over time, Cameron suggested that all of the writers contributed to the entire story arc in some way. The filmmaker also said the four sequels are designed as separate stories that combine to form a larger overall arc.
Cameron has also said the sequels will create “a generational family saga very different than the first film.” While set on Pandora and other nearby moons, he approached the sequels like THE GODFATHER epic, saying:
“It’s a continuation of the same characters, but what happens when warriors, willing to go on suicide charges and leap off cliffs onto the backs of big orange Toruks, grow up and have their own kids.”
The Avatar: The Way Of Water Cast
The big question with the AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER cast is which character will Sigourney Weaver be playing. Cameron’s star from ALIENS was a big part of the first movie, but her character did not survive the original AVATAR. Weaver has said that she will be in AVATAR 2 and 3, playing a different character. Since the movies use extensive performance capture, it’s easy to assume that Weaver will play a new digitally created character.
Sam Worthington will return as the hero Jake Sully, who has become leader of his Na’vi clan and permanently merged with his avatar. Zoe Saldana is back as the Pandora native Neytiri, who introduced Jake to the Na’vi life. CCH Pounder plays the Omaticaya spiritual leader, and Cliff Curtis is Tonowari, who leads the reef people clan of Metkayina.
Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton and Trinity Bliss play the children of Jake and Neytiri, while Bailey Bass, Filip Geljo and Duane Evans Jr. play Metkayina free divers, who will no doubt be seen in the underwater sequences.
And, TITANIC star Kate Winslet plays the Metkayina freediver, Ronal, an important character who may not have a huge amount of screen time.
To represent human interests in the story, Giovanni Ribisi returns as administrator Parker Selfridge; Joel David Moore is back as Dr. Norm Spellman; and Dileep Rao reprises his character, Dr. Max Patel. Matt Gerald and Jack Champion are also part of the human character complement for the sequel. Finally, Edie Falco debuts in the series as human military leader General Ardmore.
FAST & FURIOUS franchise star Vin Diesel is also set to join the AVATAR 2 cast in an undisclosed role.
The Avatar: The Way Of Water Trailer
After what seems like years of waiting, the AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER trailer was finally released during the opening weekend of DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, giving moviegoers their first look at the exciting world of James Cameron’s highly anticipated sequel. But, those who didn’t see the Marvel movie on the big screen weren’t completely out of luck, as 20th Century Studios released the short teaser trailer online a few days later.
The trailer offers a brief glimpse at Jake and Neytiri’s family as they traverse the beautiful jungles and mountains of Pandora as well as new locations, including the blue waters of the planet’s coastal areas. But, where there is beauty there is also danger, especially with the encroaching human population.
There are still many things we don’t know about AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, so stay tuned for more updates as we prepare for the movie to open in AMC Theatres on December 16, 2022.