Release Date, Plot Details, Sequels, and More

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Gif: 20th Century Studios

At a Glance:

  • Avatar, written and directed by James Cameron, was released in 2009 and became the highest grossing film ever—which it still is to this day.
  • It’s taken over a decade for the first sequel to be released, but it’s coming December 16. It’s called Avatar: The Way of Water.
  • The Way of Water is the first of four additional sequels, the rest of which are scheduled to come out every two years: 2024, 2026, and 2028.
  • The epic story will follow Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), two Na’vi warriors who fell in love in the first film, and their family, which has expanded with several kids.
  • Many new and returning cast members are a part of it.
  • The original film is being re-released in theaters September 23.

What *Is* Avatar, Exactly?

Image for article titled Everything We Know About James Cameron's Avatar Sequels

Screenshot: 20th Century Studios

Not to be confused with the hit animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar was a 2009 sci-fi film written and directed by James Cameron that grossed almost $3 billion worldwide. It’s still the highest grossing film of all-time internationally.

It told the story of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a disabled war veteran who goes to the alien planet of Pandora on a research trip. There, his consciousness is transferred into an avatar of Pandora’s alien race, the Na’vi, who are very tall, very skinny, and very blue. Jake’s avatar befriends many of the Na’vi including one in particular, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). Jake’s mission is the make the Na’vi leave sections of their planet so humans can use the natural resources but Jake ends up falling for Neytiri, siding with the Na’vi, and fighting against the humans. In the end, the Na’vi win, and Jake decides to permanently transfer his mind into his avatar body, becoming an official Na’vi.

The film is best known not just for its incredibly financial success, but pioneering the process of performance capture to create many of the main characters and its use of 3D imagery.

When Is Avatar 2 Coming Out?

The first Avatar was released on December 18, 2009. And after years and years of delays, its first sequel is finally scheduled for release on December 16, 2022. That sequel is called Avatar: The Way of Water.

Will There Be More Avatar Sequels?

Yes, As it stands now, the rest of the films are scheduled as follows:

  • Avatar: The Way of Water – December 16, 2022
  • Avatar 3 – December 20, 2024
  • Avatar 4 – December 18, 2026
  • Avatar 5 – December 22, 2028

Why Did Avatar 2 Take So Long to Come Out?

A lot of reasons. Mainly because James Cameron is a perfectionist. While the plans originally had the first sequel out in 2014, the story kept getting bigger and bigger to the point where Cameron went from two sequels to three, then four; in 2014, he hired a whole team of writers to help him with them.

Then, of course, the films are huge technical achievements—so though filming was reported back in 2017, we’re still waiting for the first sequel.

Is There an Avatar 2 Trailer?

Avatar: The Way of Water | Official Teaser Trailer

There most certainly is! It was released in May with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. A new one is likely coming in the next few months.

What’s the Next Avatar About?

Here’s Disney’s official wording: “Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.” Cameron himself has explained the saga as almost like The Godfather with multiple generations happening over the course of the story.

Who’s Making the New Avatar Movies?

Cameron himself is directing parts two and three, and was originally going to do four and five too, but in recent weeks, he’s said he might pass that honor off to someone else. The scripts, however, are written by Cameron as well as the writers he hired in 2014: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Josh Friedman, and Shane Salerno.

What Cast Members Are Back for Avatar 2?

Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington return as Neytiri and Jake, the stars of the series. Joel David Moore is back as the scientist Norm. CCH Pounder is back as Neytiri’s mom and Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang return too. But here’s where it gets weird.

Those last two actors played characters that die in the first film. Now, in this film, Weaver is playing a new character, one of Neytiri and Jake’s daughters, while Lang will return as the same character… kind of. He’s a Recombinant, an Avatar clone that holds the memories of a human soldier.

What New Cast Members Are in Avatar 2?

So many. The biggest are Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet as two members of a new Na’vi tribe, the Metkayina, who are a water based tribe. Edie Falco plays a human leader, Jemaine Clement is another scientist, and Vin Diesel is… someone. We don’t actually know who.

Image for article titled Everything We Know About James Cameron's Avatar Sequels

Screenshot: 20th Century Studios

Will They Actually Make All of the Avatar Movies?

There was a point like five or six years after the release of Avatar that maybe it wasn’t sure. But, as of right now, Avatars 2 and 3 are 100% happening. However, if those films are not a success, Cameron has said he might not move ahead with the final two films.

Where Can I Watch the Original Avatar?

The original Avatar is currently on Disney+, so you can watch it there, and is also available on Blu-ray and DVD. But most interestingly, it’s being re-released in theaters September 23 to remind fans all about it.

Is Avatar 2 Streaming?

Avatar: The Way of Water will be playing only in theaters December 16.

Will Avatar Have a Happy Ending?

That seems like a weird question, right? But, it turns out, we know the answer. Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida, has an Avatar land. And, in the canon of that story, any wars between humans and Na’vis are over and now humans and Na’vi exist in peace. So, yes, this story will have a happy ending, whenever it does actually end.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.



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