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‘Avatar 3’ Might Hit Theaters Sooner Than We Thought — Here’s Everything We Know So Far

Time for the fire Na'vi to rise up!

Kiri swims under water

It’s been a little over a month since Avatar: The Way of Water was released on streaming platforms after premiering in cinemas in December 2022. A movie 13 years in the making that ended up being one of the highest-grossing of all time, even with all the controversies surrounding it—the same ones that arose after the first Avatar movie premiered.

So, of course, the success of The Way of Water meant that all the planned sequels have been green-lit and are very much a go, even more than they already were—so let’s focus on what’s coming next and take a look at what we know so far about Avatar 3.

When is Avatar 3 coming out?

Avatar 3 is already scheduled for release on December 20, 2024. 

It was probably going to hit cinemas no matter how The Way of Water fared at the box office since varying reports from members of the cast and crew said that the bulk of principal photography, with the motion capture suits and everything, is almost entirely done and the movie is now in post-production stage—which one can expect to be pretty significant considering the type of movies the Avatar franchise is made of.

Avatar 4 and Avatar 5, which are as far as Cameron has planned to take the franchise, are also happening and should be released in 2026 and 2028, respectively. In an interview with the French outlet 20 Minutes, Cameron said, “The last chapters are going to be the best. The others were an introduction, a way of setting the table before serving the meal.”

Jake Sully and Neytiri fly to the Metkayina with their family in Avatar: The Way of Water
To be honest, I just hope the Ikrans are in every single Avatar movie that will be made because I love them so much (20th Century Studios)

What will Avatar 3 be about?

So we know that Avatar 3 is coming but, just like The Way of Water, we can only make educated guesses at what its plot will be about—even though we can be certain of one thing and that’s the film’s long runtime. We’re not leaving the cinema before the three-hour mark, that’s for sure.

Jokes aside, the ending of The Way of Water certainly leaves us some clues as to what could possibly go down in Avatar 3. Jake, Neytiri, and their family are now official members of the Metkayina clan, but the war for Pandora is far from over. Stephen Lang’s Miles Quaritch is still alive, for starters, and so is his revenge against the Sully family—one storyline that is sure to hinge heavily on Jack Champion’s Miles “Spider” Socorro.

The humans are also still very much doing their colonialism thing on Pandora from their base at Bridgehead City, so that means that there will be no rest for the Na’vi and their planet. And let’s not forget the issue of Sigourney Weaver’s Kiri—her powers and her deep connection with Eywa has only been touched upon, but there’s undoubtedly much more to explore and we can be certain that her abilities will have a major role to play in the struggle against the humans.

Britain Dalton’s Lo’ak, Jake and Neytiri’s second son, will also undoubtedly step up into a bigger role—together with his Tulkun spirit brother, Payakan, who is confirmed will return for Avatar 3—and he’s also reportedly replacing Jake as the movie’s narrator.

Still, the great strength of the Avatar movie has always been the lush world of Pandora, so of course Avatar 3 is going to introduce us to a new part of it just like The Way of Water did. So far we have seen the tree clan, the Omaticaya, and the reef clan, the Metkayina, so earth and water—it only makes sense then that Avatar 3 should introduce us to Na’vi that are somehow connected to fire. 

That’s exactly what’s happening with the Ash People—who will certainly get a Na’vi name once we get closer to the movie’s release—who however might not be as welcoming as the Metkayina were. In the 20 Minutes interview, Cameron explained his approach to this kind sector of people saying, [I want] to reveal the Na’vi in a different light since so far I have only shown their good sides. In the first movies, there are extremely negative human characters and extremely positive Na’vi characters. In Avatar 3 we’re going to do the opposite”.

Bailey Bass plays Tsireya, the daughter of the leaders of the Metkayina clan, in Avatar: The Way of Water
If the Metkayina have adapted to live in water, then one can assume that the Ash People will also have some physical attributes that makes living in their chosen environment easier for them (20th Century Studios)

Who is coming back for Avatar 3?

There’s definitely much to look forward to when it comes to Avatar 3’s plot, and the same goes for the movie’s cast.

We can expect most of our well-known faces to come back, starting with Sam Worthington as Jake and Zoe Saldaña as Neytiri. Sigourney Weaver, Britain Dalton, Jack Champion and Trinity Jo-Li Bliss will return as the couples’ children—Kiri, Lo’ak, Spider and Tuktirey respectively. CCH Pounder is also set to reprise the role of Mo’at, the tsahìk of the Omaticaya and Neytiri’s mother, which means that we might get to see the Sullys’ original clan once more in Avatar 3.

As for the Sullys’ new clan, we can expect both Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet to return as Tonowari and Ronal, the leaders of the Metkayina. Filip Geljo and Bailey Bass will also reprise their roles of Ao’nung and Tsireya respectively, Tonowari and Ronal’s son and daughter.

On the human-slash-Avatar side, we know that Stephen Lang’s Quaritch has survived and will definitely come back into the lives of Jake and Neytiri. With him, there will probably be Matt Gerald as Corporal Wainfleet, who like Quaritch died in the final battle in the first Avatar movie and whose memories have been placed inside an Avatar body. 

Edie Falco will also return as General Frances Ardmore, the commander of Bridgehead City, and so will Brendan Cowell and Jemaine Clement as Captain Scoresby and Dr. Ian Gavin respectively—turns out that they didn’t die in the fight against Payakan and are still alive and ready to maybe wreak more havoc on Pandora’s marine wildlife.

Giovanni Ribisi is also scheduled to return to his role as Parker Selfridge, the secondary antagonist in the first Avatar movie as the director of the human base of Hell’s Gate. Dileep Rao will also reprise his role as Dr. Max Patel, one of the few humans who were chosen to stay on Pandora at the end of the first movie.

There are also three major new entries to the cast: Michelle Yeoh, Oona Chaplin and David Thewlis.

Michelle Yeoh and Oona Chaplin’s roles probably resonate the most with what Cameron was saying about wanting to show some positive human characters and some negative Na’vi characters—Yeoh is set to appear as Dr. Karina Mogue, a human scientist, while Chaplin will take on the role of Varang, the leader of the Ash People.

In an interview with EW, Yeoh said that she obviously can’t reveal much about her role but  stated, “[They] shot for a few weeks, and I was so impressed with the world that he’s done, the world 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”.

As for David Thewlis, not much is known so far about his role other than he will indeed be a Na’vi—and that is character will be introduced in Avatar 3, but will then stick around until Avatar 5. GamesRadar reported an interview that Thewlis gave to Total Film, in which he stated, “[He’s] fascinated to see how I’m going to look, because they sort of make [the Na’vi] look a bit like oneself. It’s fantastic!”

Of course, Cameron has all intentions to continue being at the helm of the franchise. In that same 20 Minutes interview, Cameron said, “[He’s ready] to prepare everything so that the story can continue without me, even though in the best case scenario I would continue to direct it all. I’m the only one who knows the most minute details of this universe. I’m a ‘control freak’ and letting go of this control isn’t in my nature”.

(featured image: 20th Century Studios)

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Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.