Person and their son. Avatar: Way of the Water screencap. Image: Disney/20th Century Fox.

‘Avatar 2’ Is Just Around the Corner – 13 Years After the First Movie

Still not excited, but let's talk details.

One of the most curious events of CinemaCon 2022 was the teaser trailer and significant updates for the first of four Avatar (2009) sequels that are apparently finally really happening, allegedly. The only thing on par with the disbelief that this movie (let alone more of them) was going to come out is the running gag about Valve making Half-Life 3 (or a third game of any of their popular titles, tbh). However, we should have known they were serious when Disney opened the Avatar section of Animal Kingdom (in Disney World) a few years back.

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Flying from New Zealand to Las Vegas for the presentation, producer Jon Landau gave many details regarding the plot, cast, and returning director James Cameron’s vision before showing the trailer for the film. The trailer wasn’t available to the public in April, but now they’ve released the full-fist trailer and a lot more.

Avatar: The Way of Water Plot & Cast

Avatar 2 logo. Image: Disney.

According to Deadline, Landau explained that each movie will still be in the Sully family. He assured that while the sequels are standalone films, they will come to a “fulfilling resolution.” Landau noted that when the movies are watched together (by the end of the decade, I think), it will create a larger epic saga.

The official description reads:

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) 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 (Zoe Saldana) and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet

Other stars in the sequel include Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Michelle Yeoh, Edie Falco, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Oona Chaplin, and Jermaine Clement. If you’re wondering why people are coming back even though their characters died, just know we are, too. They’re likely to take on new roles or come back in some capacity.

What is Avatar 2’s release date?

Avatar: Way of the Water screencap. Image: Disney/20th Century Fox.

As if we already didn’t have to clarify which Avatar we were talking about, this one had to go and sound like Book 1 of Avatar the Last Airbender. I’ll give it this: The Way of Water is one of the better names they announced in 2018. To build up hype, Disney removed Avatar on Disney+ and rereleased the original 2009 film on September 23 with a remastered picture and sound. The first of four sequels start this year with Avatar: The Way of Water releasing on December 16.

While those at CinemaCon 2022 got peeks of the movie on April 27, the larger public didn’t see the teaser trailer until the previews for the U.S. release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 5 and 6. After, Disney released the trailer online approximately one week later. Now, the first full trailer is available to watch online (and I’m sure will be front and center when we go see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.)

Avatar: The Way of Water Trailer

Despite how stunning this trailer (as we all expected), I don’t think I’ll be risking COVID-19 for this movie. If I see it in theaters, I’ll likely wait until right before it leaves in early 2023. On the one hand, this film will be stunning, and the original said some pretty bold things (for a high school freshman just trying to survive marching band, anyways) by 2000s standards regarding imperialism, war, and the environment. Sure, the public sentiment towards the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq shifted by the time it came to theaters, but saying we should leave and the U.S. was wrong in the first place are two different things.

However, at the same time, Avatar still ended up being a White Savior story. I doubt they’ll retell the same story, but that will inform the story since they’re calling it a Sully family story. The only Sully family we know is Sam, his dead twin brother, and Neytiri (though I’m not sure how family ties work in their culture). Also, the writing and producing credits are very white despite the South Asian, Black, and Indigenous (from the Americas) inspirations, from philosophy to costuming of the Na’vi people.

(sources via Deadline, image: Disney/20th Century Fox)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.