Avatar 2 now has an official title – Avatar: The Way of Water – and we’ll be seeing the first teaser trailer very soon. The teaser trailer was debuted at CinemaCon on April 27, 2022 where the title was also revealed. It’s not online yet, but should be in early May ahead of the sequel’s long-awaited release in cinemas in December 2022.
Speaking in March 2022, Steve Asbell, President of 20th Century Studios, teased that the sequel is “going to blow people away”, adding: “You’re not ready for what Jim [Cameron, director] is doing.”
Cameron revealed at CinemaCon that he was “hard at work putting the final touches on the film”. He’s previously spoken about how the decision to set the majority of the movie underwater is one of several factors why it’s taken so long to arrive.
“It sounds kind of nuts, the process,” Cameron admitted to EW about his plan for the sequel. “I mean, if Avatar hadn’t made so much damn money, we’d never do this — because it’s kind of crazy.”
If anybody could pull it off though, it’s Cameron, a director responsible for two of the top three highest-grossing movies of all time (Avatar and Titanic). Some may question whether anybody wants Avatar 2 now, but never bet against the filmmaker.
And returning star Zoe Saldaña has been teasing that it’s going to be well worth the wait as she had a powerful response to just 20 minutes of footage.
“I can get choked up just talking about it because I was able to see just 20 minutes of the second instalment right before the year ended last year, and I was speechless. I was moved to tears,” she enthused.
“I think you really have to brace yourself for it, but it’s going to be an adventure that you will not forget.”
As we touch every bit of wood around us, it seems as though the sequel will finally hit cinemas in December 2022.
Once the sequel does arrive this year, it’ll kickstart a succession of sequels every other year until Avatar 5 in December 2028. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves and concentrate on Avatar 2 for now.
Here’s everything you need to know about the long-delayed sequel to James Cameron’s blockbuster.
Avatar 2 release date: When will Avatar The Way of Water be out in cinemas?
To cut a long story short, Avatar 2 is finally going to be released on December 16, 2022, having been pushed back from December 2021 due to the ongoing global health crisis.
The sequel started filming in 2017, but given the movie is a mix of live-action and motion capture elements, it’s not a surprise it’s taken a while. In September 2020, Cameron revealed that they were “100% complete” on Avatar 2 and around 95% finished on Avatar 3.
As mentioned above, Cameron said in April 2022 that he is putting the “final touches” on the sequel, so everything seems on track for the December release. FINALLY.
Given that we’ve got three other movies to come, Cameron has been working on all of them in recent years. In December 2021, he revealed he’d already filmed some of Avatar 4 due to the young cast.
“Anything that had to be done with a specific actor, we did all the scenes for 2 and 3 together – and a little bit of 4,” he told Variety.
“I had to shoot the kids out. They’re allowed to age six years in the middle of the story on page 25 of movie 4. So I needed everything before then, and then everything after, we’ll do later.”
Avatar 2: Why has it taken so long?
If you want the full story of the sequel’s long and drawn-out journey to the screen, here goes. Looking back on it, it seems almost absurd that Avatar 2 was scheduled for release in December 2014, and Avatar 3 was scheduled for December 2015.
After delays filming was meant to start on Avatar 2 in April 2016, but April came and went, and filming never began. In January the following year, it was announced that work on the motion-capture element of the film would start by August 2017, but it actually began in September.
The announcement of a fourth Avatar movie pushed the whole lot back, and then they were all pushed back again, with Avatar 2 planned for December 2017 (and the rest set for 2018 and 2019 presumably). James Cameron blamed the “very involved” writing process for the delays.
The sequel was then set for a December 2020 release before Disney shifted it again to December 2021, after completing the takeover of Fox, and that brings us right up to the latest delay.
Through it all though, Cameron has been completely chilled out about any delays. “It was a seven-year gap between The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, seven-year gap between Alien and Aliens,” he said.
Avatar 2 trailer: When will the Avatar The Way of Water trailer be out online?
If you don’t catch it on the big screen, the trailer will then be released online a week later. A specific date hasn’t been confirmed, so it could be any time in the week commencing Monday, May 9.
The trailer received a lot of praise at CinemaCon and according to Deadline, features new “flying fish bird creatures”, the Na’vi communicating with a whale and a civil war between the Na’vi.
Avatar 2 title: Say hello to Avatar The Way of Water
As mentioned above, Avatar 2 is now officially called Avatar: The Way of Water.
Interestingly, way back in November 2018, the BBC reported that the four planned Avatar sequels will be called Avatar: The Way of Water, Avatar: The Seed Bearer, Avatar: The Tulkun Rider and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa.
Cameron later confirmed these are potential titles and since the first one proved to be true, perhaps these will be the titles of the following three movies too.
Avatar 2 cast: Who’s back in Avatar The Way of Water?
The core cast of the original Avatar are all on contract, so Cameron’s stars will be back in when it finally hits.
Zoe Saldaña will reprise the role of the Na’vi princess Neytiri, with Sam Worthington also returning as the human-turned-Na’vi, Jake Sully.
Stephen Lang is back as the dead Colonel Miles Quaritch, and he’s going to be the main villain of the four movies. He said that he’ll be able to “really go to town and examine the character in detail” in the sequel (via The National).
James Cameron explained: “I’m not going to say exactly HOW we’re bringing him back, but it’s a science fiction story, after all.”
The actor isn’t giving anything away about his unexpected return, although he has promised that the sequel is worth the extended wait. “I think [fans will] be enchanted and fascinated. Look, there are people who are going to just adore this world,” he told EW.
CCH Pounder will also reprise her role Neytiri’s mum Mo’at, and Matt Gerald is back as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet, while Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie) is playing the new character General Ardmore.
The sequel will introduce a new Na’vi clan called the Metkayina, led by Fear the Walking Dead‘s Cliff Curtis as Tonowari. Winslet’s character Ronal is also a member of the Metkayina clan, alongside the likes of Bailey Bass’s Reya and Duane Evans Jr’s Rotxo.
Jake and Neytiri have Na’vi children in the sequel too, including Jamie Flatters’s Neteyam, Britain Dalton’s Lo’ak and Trinity Bliss’s Tuktirey. They have also adopted a human child Miles Socorro, aka Spider, who is played by Jack Champion.
“Jake took him in but Neytiri always saw him as one of the people who destroyed her home and killed her father,” producer Jon Landau told Empire. “So you have all these dynamics playing out.”
Game of Thrones‘ Oona Chaplin will play Varang who is said to be a “strong and vibrant central character” that will span all four sequels.
Marvel’s Michelle Yeoh has also joined the cast as scientist Dr Karina Mogue and we got our first look at her in action on set in March 2021. The caption hinted that she’ll be in Avatar 3 as well, so expect her to play a significant role in the upcoming movies.
In April 2022, Yeoh said that she couldn’t really say anything about the sequel or her role, but was full of praise for Cameron.
“I was so impressed with the work that [he’s] done, the work that he’s doing, the energy. He’s a genius, he’s a walking genius. And I really really enjoyed the experience and I can’t wait to go back soon, I hope,” she enthused.
Fast & Furious star Vin Diesel has added another franchise to his CV too as he’s joined the sequels, alongside Jemaine Clement as marine biologist Dr Ian Garvin, described by Cameron as “one of my favourite characters”.
There was some initial confusion about the inclusion of Harry Potter‘s David Thewlis to the sequel. It turns out he’ll be in Avatar 3 (and 4 and 5) but not the second film.
Avatar 2 plot: What will Avatar The Way of Water be about?
Along with the title announcement, we got the first official synopsis for the sequel, but it didn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know:
“Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the planet of Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet,” it reads.
Set around 14 years after the events of Avatar, Sully is now chieftain and Neytiri high priestess of their clan – although events will focus on their family and children.
“I think the story of Avatar 2, and the strength of the story, is what Jim [Cameron] always does in any of his movies: he writes in universal themes that are bigger than any one genre,” producer Jon Landau explained.
“And if you think about this, there’s really no more universal theme than family. At the centre of each of our sequels is the Sully family. What are the dynamics that parents go through to protect their family?”
We also know that even though there are set to be three sequels after this one, each movie will be a stand-alone story with Landau saying that “the journey across all four movies will create a connected saga”.
Into the mix will be the return of the RDA mining operation to Pandora, forcing Jake to take his family to the “perceived safe harbour” at the reef where they meet the Metkayina.
We hear they’ll also be journeying beyond the forests of Pandora into underwater and volcanic environments that Cameron promises will make “you shit yourself with your mouth wide open”. That’s supposed to be a good thing, we think…
To really capture the importance of water, Avatar 2 filmed its motion-capture scenes underwater.
We also know there’s been a bespoke sign language created for the movie by Baby Driver‘s CJ Jones, a deaf actor who’s been hired to create a “new Na’vi sign language”.
As to the movies’ appearance, Cameron promises that they will be so advanced you “just won’t be able to imagine” what they’re going to look like. Hopefully the look will be enough to draw fans back to the cinema for the sequel.
“Big, expensive films have got to make a lot of money. We’re in a new world post-COVID, post-streaming. Maybe those [box office] numbers will never be seen again. Who knows? It’s all a big roll of the dice,” admitted Cameron to EW.
At CinemaCon, he hyped up the big-screen experience of the movie. “[We’re] pushing limits even farther with high frame rate, higher resolution 3D and greater reality in our visual effects,” Cameron teased.
“I wanted our return to Pandora to be something really special. Every shot is designed for the biggest screen, highest resolution and most immersive 3D available. I think we pulled it off.”